Gov. Gavin Newsom expressed support Monday for protesters across the state and country and called for an end to the adjacent looting and destruction.
Speaking from the Genesis Church in Sacramento, Newsom said it was incumbent on everyone to end racism and curb police brutality. He also praised the legitimacy of the protests that have erupted nationwide following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department.
“The black community is not responsible for what’s happening in this country right now, we are,” Newsom said. “We are. Our institutions are responsible. We are accountable for this moment.”
Newsom said he would not install a statewide curfew amid the protests because of the variance in activity from county to county. Curfew times have varied across the state, starting as early as 1 p.m. in the business districts of Beverly Hills, Long Beach and Santa Monica. Several communities in the Bay Area have also issued curfews this week after a spate of weekend violence ended in dozens of arrests and scores of vandalized businesses.
Newsom also said California has some 4,500 members of the National Guard available for deployment throughout the state, if necessary. National Guard personnel are mostly in Southern California, for now, he said.
Parts of the Bay Area are receiving law enforcement assistance during the protests from neighboring counties, according to Newsom. San Francisco County and the city of Oakland have received mutual aid from areas of the state such as Tulare and Santa Barbara counties.
Newsom demurred when asked for a reaction to a morning phone call President Donald Trump had with governors across the country, in which he told them they would look “weak” and “like fools” if they did not meet protests with aggressive force.
“I could be part of the daily back-and-forth in the news cycle and continue to perpetuate the problems that persist in this country,” Newsom said, adding that he cares more about California residents who are hurting than “some of the noise I heard on a morning phone call.”
The protesters, Newsom said, are tired of being told to “be patient” and that justice will come in due time.
“We’ve made progress,” he said of addressing racial injustice, “but this is a manifestation of everything that we’ve been promoting that we haven’t delivered.”