Local leaders, clergy offer prayers, declare Friday a day of mourning

Published 4:59 pm Wednesday, June 3, 2020

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NATCHEZ — Approximately 80 people gathered at the steps of the Adams County Courthouse facing Wall Street on Wednesday afternoon to hear City of Natchez and Adams County faith and community leaders respond the homicide of George Floyd, who was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last week.

Floyd’s killing at the hands of police officers sparked nationwide protests.

Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell, Adams County Board of Supervisors President Ricky Gray, Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten and Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong were all keynote speakers in the public conference Wednesday and local clergy members led prayers between each speaker.

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Local officials said they are grateful that police brutality such as that which led to Floyd’s death hasn’t been an issue in Natchez or Adams County.

However, they said the issue of racial injustice is one that should be remembered and issued a local proclamation that Friday be a day of mourning to commemorate the events that led to Wednesday’s gathering.

“Justice cannot be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are affected,” Gray said. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Grennell asked that area churches toll funeral bells from noon to 12:30 p.m. on Friday in memory of Floyd while law enforcement agencies lead a silent “circle of unity” procession around the city beginning on the Natchez Bluff.

Grennell and Gray would also propose a joint resolution to the Natchez Board of Aldermen and Adams County Board of Supervisors declaring Flag Day, June 14, to be an annual day of unity in Natchez and Adams County — “a day set aside for us to remember the events that brought us to this place and the decision that we made together as a community,” Grennell said.