Peaceful protest

Kingston Police wishes to clarify that while it is aware of the planned ‘Justice for George Floyd & All Police Racism Victims’ event on June 6 at Confederation Park it will not be formally involved, will not be an active participant, nor will any members be speaking at the demonstration. This was never the intent of Kingston Police and there was some apparent miscommunication by one of the event organizers when a liaison officer reached out earlier in the week to discuss public safety and COVID-19 concerns. The organization is also aware of the possibility of a second protest that may occur near City Hall at the same time.

Kingston Police respects the right of the public to lawfully assemble and peacefully demonstrate. Saying that, we are living in unique times and must urge caution and provide a reminder that a global pandemic is still active and at the recommendation of KFL&A Public Health and the Government of Ontario participating in such public gatherings not only places the attendees at risk of infection but also exacerbates spreading the disease to the rest of the Kingston population and further. We have had discussion with the organizers to advise them of this concern but to also provide recommendations to mitigate harm to the health and well-being of all who attend. While we will attempt to minimize our presence at the event we have a duty to monitor and to be prepared to respond to ensure the safety of both the attendees and the greater community.

We will respect the organizers' most recent request to not participate in the event, even though that was never our wish or intent to insert ourselves in the conversation at this sensitive time. We do not want to encroach upon the space of those whose voices need to be heard when discussing the topic of anti-Black racism, the murder of George Floyd, and the deaths of other people of colour in police custody. At the proper time we hope to listen to vested community members' feelings and recommendations on how Kingston Police can be a constructive part of tangible solutions to combat racism in all its forms.