SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION) Chief Andy Mills with the Santa Cruz Police Department tells KION they will support a peaceful protest if one were to happen this weekend in Santa Cruz.
"First of all, we are going to make sure we protect the first amendment rights for anyone who wants to protest in favor of prosecution or to protest against the actions of the Minneapolis police officers," says Chief Andy Mills.
When it comes to the arrest and killing of George Floyd, the unarmed black man in Minneapolis, Mills had this to say:
"We too, find it horrific and disgusting and we want to make sure people have that right to protest."
Chief Mills tweeted this on Wednesday.
This comes as we learn Friday morning that the former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, has been taken into custody and charged with murder in George Floyd's death.
"I don't know about the specifics of the case, but I think all of us can see what we saw on the video that certainly looks like a homicide to me. But, I appreciate the fact that it takes time to put the evidence together to make sure that it's a good solid case that's prosecutable and I want to make sure that they have the opportunity to do it but at the same time be very sure footed with how they proceed," says Mills.
This flyer has been making its rounds on socials media, calling for a 'peaceful social distancing rally" on Sunday, May 31st, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. on Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz.
I asked Chief Mills if Santa Cruz Police had a plan in place when it comes to Sunday's rally.
"We do not. We have not been notified about about a protest. We are hearing some chatter on social media that it may take place again, but again, our goal is to make sure the first amendment rights are heard and the government listens to it and we do everything we can to make sure that we policing in a fair and equitable way," says Mills.
Santa Cruz Police have dealt with rallies and protests in the past, and say this one is expected to be similar to past community gatherings.
"It's no different than any rally where people are expressing their first amendment rights we want to make sure we protect that and give them the opportunity to speak their mind and to peacefully assemble and protest and we'll do everything within our power to make sure that happens in the best environment possible," says Mills.
Chief Abdul Pridgen with Seaside Police tweeting this Thursday.
We have reached out to pridgen for comment and have yet to hear back.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.