Gov. Ralph Northam on Monday quietly signed an executive order extending a state of emergency declaration in Richmond, citing “civil unrest” following weeks of protests that have resulted in some violent clashes between demonstrators and police.
The extension came at the request of Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, who said in a Monday letter to the governor that the city has “minimum funding to cover costs” tied to the response, and that “the bandwidth of our personnel will reach its limit.”
The order gives the administration the ability to deploy additional state resources to “implement recovery and mitigation operations and activities” to return the city to “pre-event conditions as much as possible.”
That includes emergency funding for government response to the protests and activation of the Virginia National Guard, according to the order. Northam spokeswoman Alena Yarmosky said the administration has “absolutely no plans to deploy the National Guard,” and said a reference to it in the order is standard language.
Northam’s order reads: “Often, peaceful demonstrations evolve into conflicts with law enforcement during late night and early morning hours. These events have required significant intervention to ensure the safety of protesters and the public, protect property and provide additional resources to support our local and state partners.”
The ACLU of Virginia on Tuesday chided Northam’s order in a statement on Twitter.
“[Northam’s] actions show no understanding of the anti-Black racism that infects our civil and social structures, accepts the police version of the facts and demonstrates an unwillingness to recognize that treating people as enemy combatants invites violence rather than quells it,” the civil rights group said.
The order is in effect until July 30.