Alabaster mayor clarifies curfew order

ALABASTER – Alabaster announced a curfew effective Tuesday, June 2, due to “threats of rioting…and destruction.”

One day later, Mayor Marty Handlon offered additional information about the decision behind the order, which establishes a curfew between the hours of 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. each day (read the details of the order here).

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

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.

Below is the full text of a message from Handlon posted to the city’s Facebook page:

“It has come to my attention from several members of our community that the expediency of implementing a curfew has sent the wrong message to our community. I thank them for calling to share their concerns, and I apologize for inadvertently sending an incorrect message with the Proclamation dated June 2, 2020. I want to provide additional information and clarity for the benefit of all.

“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.

“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 I 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.

“I hope this message and clarity of intent brings the confident peace needed to restore our community to what we love about it. May God continue to bless and keep us in the palm of His hand.”