Mayor Lenny Curry started his virtual news conference June 4 thanking citizens for speaking out, and for doing so peacefully.
Responding to media questions, he said protests have been largely peaceful, with the exception of a few events over the weekend.
“As it relates to keeping the peace in our city, the people of Jacksonville have demonstrated the ability to have their voices heard in large crowds and to do it responsibly in a safe way,” he said.
“I’m going to continue, in the days and weeks and months and years ahead to work with all people in our city, even where we have voices of disagreement, even when we have historical institutional issues we have to deal with,” he said.
Curry said he is not ready to participate in a protest because it would require law enforcement to dedicate resources to keeping him safe, but he would take part “at the appropriate time, when it makes the most sense in terms of safety of our people.”
“I talked to the sheriff about potentially being out in the middle of some of these,” Curry said. “There may be a time where we go out and walk. This isn’t the time.
“I’m interested in action items that we can do through legislation and budgets that will address the needs of the people, jobs, economic disparities and some of the other issues you’ve heard folks express in the protests.”
The protests against police brutality and racial injustice were sparked by death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody,
Fireworks will go on
As Jacksonville moves into phase two of reopening, Curry announced the city’s plans for its annual Fourth of July celebration.
The show will go on, but not as before. Curry said in addition to the usual Downtown show there will be displays throughout the city. Those locations have not been determined.
There will be fireworks only, with no other events. The goal is to allow for social distancing by keeping attendees from gathering in one central location.
“We’re looking to make it bigger, better and safer for all,” Curry said.
It will be broadcast on local TV stations.
COVID-19 testing update
The Florida Department of Health reported Duval County has 1,702 positive cases, 277 hospitalizations and 51 deaths. About 58,000 people have been tested, at a positive rate of 2.8%.