City of Lynchburg to lift curfew Friday evening
Lynchburg City will lift its curfew Friday evening after three nights of peaceful protests.
City Manager Bonnie Svrcek and Police Chief Ryan Zuidema made the decision to life the curfew.
“We want to thank everyone for their compliance with the curfew and understanding during these extraordinary times,” said the City Manager. “We expect the community will continue to be peaceful so the suspension of the curfew can continue and our great community can engage in meaningful conversation and action to move forward.”
The city says the decision could be revisited and the curfew reinstated if it becomes necessary.
Lynchburg City Council has amended the curfew ordinance, changing the hours to 9 p.m. through 6 a.m. The curfew has expires Tuesday, June 9, at which point the council will discuss and potentially take further action. The ordinance previously set the curfew at 8 p.m. through 6 a.m.
"We have seen the destruction. Where we are now, is no surprise," said Mayor Treney Tweedy as she addressed protestors Tuesday morning.
Destruction and violence, she said, should not and will not be tolerated.
An hour later she, alongside the city manager and the chief of police, Ryan Zuidema, spoke to reporters about the new curfew which starts Tuesday, June 2. It begins every night at 8 p.m. and ends each morning at 6
According to the ordinance, it will last for an undetermined period of time.
The biggest reason behind the curfew is shots being fired, both at police vehicles and at officers.
"It sickens me to think that anyone thinks it's a good idea or okay to take any kind of weapon, point it and shoot it at one of my officers. I'm not going to tolerate that. And to whoever that is, I can promise you we will follow you to the ends of the earth to bring you to justice," said Zuidema.
According to the commonwealth's attorney for Lynchburg, the charge for firing at an officer is attempted capital murder.
Monday night was not the first time shots had been reported. Sunday, an armored police vehicle was struck and now has five bullet holes.
"So now we have two different vehicles, one a patrol vehicle and then the armored vehicle," said Zuidema.
While the curfew goes into effect Tuesday night, Zuidema says the goal is not to make arrests, but to instead have conversations and educate about the curfew. According to Zuidema, there will be warnings given.
"We would say, ma'am, you may not be aware of what the ordinance is, we want to explain to you what the ordinance is and what the curfew is, we want to encourage you to get back to your residence or wherever you are staying. Again, we are going to take the same approach: we want to educate people first, second we need to give people a warning or comply with that," said Zuidema.
Protection first and foremost, and leaders doing what they can to show that there are not two sides, but one.