Alabaster enacts curfew due to ‘threats of rioting’

Published 5:06 pm Tuesday, June 2, 2020

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ALABASTER – Alabaster has enacted a curfew as a result of “threats of rioting, in place of peaceful protest, and direct threats to the city, as well as the civil unrest and destruction which is occurring in other cities of the metro area, following the death of George Floyd.”

The state of emergency and accompanying curfew was announced the afternoon of Tuesday, June 2, and was effective immediately.

Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon said the measure was a response to rumors of protests being planned while no permits have been secured.

Handlon said city officials hoped the curfew would prevent protests from turning violent and destructive during the night as they have in places including Birmingham and Hoover.

In other locations, local, peaceful protests have been fueled by out-of-town residents, leading to damaged property and injuries in some cases.

“It was meant to be a deterrent for people to think they could come and do damage,” Handlon said. “We don’t have a problem with peaceful protests, but as we’ve seen on the news, a lot of these are not peaceful protests. We’re trying to get ahead of it by putting this in place.”

Any protest to be held on city property, such as a park, would need to be granted a permit beforehand.

“The Constitution gives that right (to protest), but we wanted to make sure those protests were completed before the cover of darkness,” Handlon said.

According to the order, no person shall between the hours of 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. each day:

  • Hold or participate in any demonstration, parade, march or vigil, on any of the public ways or upon any public property.
  • Travel upon any public street, alley or roadway or any other public property, except those in search of medical assistance, food or other commodity or service necessary to sustain the well-being of themselves or their families or some member thereof; those traveling through the city from one location outside the city to another location outside the city; those returning to one’s place of residence or place of employment; or as necessary to comply with legally mandated government purposes, or an order of law enforcement or a court or those attending church, school or organized sporting-related activities or events (including but not limited to weddings and funerals).
  • Exemptions from the curfew include law enforcement officers, firefighters and other public employees; doctors, nurses, employees of hospitals and other medical facilities; on-duty military personnel whether state or federal; on-duty employees of public utilities, public transportation companies, and newspaper, magazines, radio broadcasting and television broadcasting corporations; and other persons as may be essential to the preservation of public order and immediately necessary to serve the safety, health and welfare needs of the citizens of Alabaster.

“First, and foremost, all of us feel deep sadness over George Floyd’s tragic death, for him, his family, his community, and communities across the globe with similar experiences, as well as the negative shadow it casts over the honorable men and women in law enforcement,” Handlon wrote in a release. “In fear is no way to live, but yet fear has spread across the country into every community of every race. Fear has gripped our community in ways we have never had to consider during my time of living here. This most definitely breaks my heart. The Lord does not give us a spirit of fear and timidity. He does give us freedom and empowers us in bold courage to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, and to speak up for injustice around us. Amendment 1 of the U.S. Constitution grants the right for people to peaceably assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances.

“The city of Alabaster has no desire to prevent peaceful and respectful protests, and will provide assistance as we are able in these efforts. Even more, your local government regularly holds public meetings in which the citizenry is invited to address questions and concerns.

“The proclamation for a state of emergency and curfew was declared for the benefit, peace of mind, and protection of our citizens and businesses. It was done in an expedient manner due to credible threats received.

“It does not require businesses to close, and it does not require people to lock down at home. It prohibits gatherings on public roadways and public property. The exemptions listed

for travel clearly allow for normal activity necessary to sustain the well-being of individuals and/or their families. As always, please do not hesitate to call APD with questions or concerns during this time.”