From The Tribune staff reports
BIRMINGHAM — The Jefferson County Commission called an emergency meeting on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, and imposed a curfew that will be in place until Tuesday, June 9, 2020. The curfew will be from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m.
Commission President Jimmie Stephens said the public safety curfew is an attempt to unify the county’s response with local municipalities.
The curfew prohibits demonstrations, parades, marches and vigils on public property and streets in Jefferson County. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office will enforce the curfew in unincorporated areas of the county. Municipalities may adopt their own ordinances to enforce the curfew if they choose to do so, but it is not mandatory. Cities may also impose their own curfews.
Those with essential jobs are allowed to be out during curfew hours, and people can travel for medical or religious purposes, to get food or services to sustain their well-being, and to commute outside the county.
Stephens said the curfew is in response to the damage and destruction of businesses as part of the national fallout of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“This commission condemns the police brutality that led to the death of George Floyd,” said Stephens. “We understand the outrage and the rage of many individuals and we share that.”
Stephens said a process is in place to hold the officer charged in Floyd’s death responsible and honoring Floyd should be done peacefully.
“Mr. Floyd’s memory should not be diluted or tainted in any way by the violence that is going on nationwide right now,” Stephens said. “We cannot mingle a social issue with a violent act. Dr. King was not a proponent of violence. Dr. King was a proponent of peaceful protests.”
With Jefferson County in mind, Stephens said citizens should stand strong and avoid repeating a violent history.
“This is a cornerstone of civil rights in the country and we deserve better than what we got the other night,” Stephens added. “We have fought those battles long ago and there is no clear enemy to see. When you throw Molotov cocktails and you break windows, you are not honoring Mr. Floyd.”
The commission will meet in one week to determine if the curfew will need to be extended after June 9. You can watch video of the emergency meeting below.