Duncanville community members gathered at Armstrong Park for a peaceful protest rally event at 9 p.m. June 8. Religious leaders from Duncanville churches took the pavilion stage at Armstrong Park. They were joined by Duncanville Police Chief Robert Brown, Assistant Chief Mark LiVigni, and Mayor Barry L. Gordon. On a Friday morning call with religious leaders, Mayor Gordon expressed his hope for the vigil to carry the themes of repentance and reconciliation.
Duncanville Community Leaders
Other elected officials included Texas State Senator Royce West and Representative Yvonne Davis. In the aftermath of the George Floyd killing and subsequent protests, which had become more peaceful in the days leading up to Duncanville’s own vigil, it became important for the people of Duncanville to come together as a community.
The evening opened with Senator West and Rep. Davis delivering their messages of hope for the community and the nation. Afterward the mayor delivered opening remarks, before all in attendance observed eight minutes and forty-two seconds of silence.
Assistant Chief LiVigni performed a song he’d written for the occasion, a Capella. He was followed by Police Chief Brown who delivered a follow-up to his open letter to the community. Chief Brown’s letter, originally shared the week of Floyd’s death across social media, reads in part:
Duncanville Police Chief David Brown
“The Duncanville Police Department sends our condolences to the family of Mr. George Floyd. The appalling death of Mr. Floyd at the hands of police officers of the Minneapolis Police Department was inhumane, deeply disturbing, upsetting and heartbreaking. The actions and use of force displayed are inconsistent with the training and protocols of the Duncanville Police Department.”
“Furthermore, the Duncanville Police Department has implemented additional training for our police officers regarding Care, Custody, Control and Restraint of Prisoners. This additional training is meant to augment training our police officers have already received, thereby enhancing our commitment to our duty of care to all, especially those in our custody.”
“The Duncanville Police Department has enjoyed a long history of community support. Every day, members of our department strive to compassionately and professionally ensure public safety of all citizens. …Our badge has been tarnished by Mr. Floyd’s senseless and tragic death. Our job will be even more difficult because of the inexcusable actions of police officers formerly employed by the Minneapolis Police Department. However, the men and women of the Duncanville Police Department are committed to working even harder to keep, and in some cases gain, your trust. We thank you for your tremendous support.”
Messages of reconciliation, songs and prayers were shared by religious leaders from within the community. Mayor Gordon then closed the evening sharing that message of repentance and reconciliation for a community wounded by these recent events.