Protester recalls peaceful demonstration before destructive night in Hampton


HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – The City of Hampton is under a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. until at least Saturday morning.

Gov. Ralph Northam ordered it at the request of local leaders following a night that many say started with peace but ended with pain for many business owners nearby.

JD Mason tells 10 on your side he left Peninsula Town Center Tuesday night hoping the world would see the positive demonstration that had just unfolded. He prayed over every protester and police. He says there was no hostility from officers as the protesters made their way to Interstate 64 and back and a beautiful crowd grew.

“We know what’s right and we wanted to be light in our community,” said Mason on Wednesday. “It was peaceful and we had young, old, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, a perfect marriage of all of the races come together yesterday. We were on the highway and after we had our prayer time there we walked back and then we were protesting, cheering, chanting, getting invigorated.”

He had heard warnings about this night. But he came out, as did others, with hope. And he left happy feeling like the night was a success sometime after 11 p.m.

“I got some messages from people who were like it’s a set up, it’s a set up,” said Mason.  “I think a few people got that same text message.”

The next set of messages he received were a shock as friends alerted him to reports of ten people arrested, one woman injured, and looting that left plenty of businesses boarded up.

He doesn’t know who was behind the bad acts. But, he says just like all protesters have to remember not all police officers are bad, he wants people to hold on to the images he shared with WAVY-TV from before any glass was broken and know most of the people demonstrating came with pure intentions and a positive message to share.

“We cannot allow other people to take the narrative from us,” said Mason. “We’re at a place now where we can change the world if we stay united.”

On Wednesday, Black Lives Matter 757 — which has held several protests in Hampton Roads over the last several days — held a press conference. They say they were not affiliated with the gathering Tuesday night and had no role in any way, shape or form in the damage.

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