VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A state senator representing Virginia Beach has written a letter to City Council saying $496,000 in overtime — which DeSteph claims was paid during recent protests and demonstrations — could have been “directed to other, more worthy endeavors.”
DeSteph also wrote that he believes the unrest in the city cannot continue — and that “law and order” need to be restored.
The senator sent the letter on Wednesday to Mayor Bobby Dyer and the rest of City Council.
“I’m certain we all care deeply about our constituents and that public safety is a top priority.
However, I reach out today to urge you to work together on a plan to restore good order and
discipline in our community,” DeSteph wrote.
Since Memorial Day, protests and other demonstrations — such as public art, prayer gatherings, fundraisers, and more — have broken out across the United States and other countries in response to the death of George Floyd.
Floyd, a Black man, died May 25 after a white Minneapolis Police officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes. His death prompted civil unrest and activism, highlighted racial injustice, and rallying cries to reform — and at times, defund — policing in America.
In the letter, DeSteph said the unrest in Virginia Beach has gone on long enough while calling the events “riots in the guise of peaceful protests.”
On May 31, protests did turn destructive in Virginia Beach.
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A Chesapeake man was also charged with four misdemeanors — disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, abusive language, and reckless driving — after driving his truck through a group of protesters May 31.
DeSteph condemned the use of the large sum of funding for overtime during the protests, saying that it could have been used on “other, more worthy endeavors” where he references schools, public safety, and social services.
He also pointed to the additional financial hardships during the coronavirus pandemic as a reason for his frustration in using nearly $500,000 for overtime in the city during the protests.
“As a former city council member and the current Senator representing the 8th district of Virginia, nothing is more important to me than the safety and security of our citizens. This has never been more imperative than now, as we confront the challenges presented by COVID-19 and the many restrictions that have been placed on our fellow Virginians,” DeSteph wrote.
He continued, “Allowing this lawlessness to continue jeopardizes the economic viability of our city. This is our home. We cannot tolerate any more unrest. I implore you to act immediately to ensure law and order are restored.”
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