Mayor’s domestic violence comments draw protest

Posted at 7:56 AM, Feb 29, 2012
and last updated 2012-02-29 08:16:34-05

PETERSBURG, Va. (WTVR) - Protesters, some who carried signs, stood outside then walked inside Tuesday night's city council meeting in Petersburg, Virginia.

They are upset over comments Petersburg Mayor Brian Moore made after the arrest of Petersburg City Manager William Johnson III on a domestic violence related charge.

When asked last week why Moore and City Council decided to let Johnson stay on the job following the arrest, the Mayor said something that did not sit well with some people in his city.

"We understand that they [some citizens] are upset but we also need to realize that things happen in a domestic relationship," Mayor Moore said last week.

Protestors at Tuesday's meeting said by saying  'things happen' the Mayor dismissed the seriousness of the allegations against the city manager.

"He almost excused it, like it's a part of life," said protester Jaquelyn Bailey-Kidd. "It is not a part of life."

"Things just don't happen. People die from domestic abuse," added another protestor.

Prior to the start of Tuesday's meeting Mayor Moore addressed the protesting crowd.

"I sincerely regret that my words were interpreted as offensive and not sensitive," Mayor Moore said.

Earlier in the day Mayor Moore spoke to CBS 6 senior reporter Wayne Covil.

“What I would like to be known is, the City and City Council in no way, shape or form, condone domestic violence,” Mayor Moore told Covil. “I feel my words were misinterpreted. I apologize for those who feel that it was an inappropriate statement.” [Read more]

Moore’s clarification came after a closed door meeting Friday in which he and Petersburg City Council decided to keep William Johnson III on the job pending the outcome of his case.

Johnson and his wife attended Friday’s meeting, a few days after police arrested Johnson on charges of misdemeanor assault and battery stemming from a fight with his wife, according to a criminal complaint filed in Petersburg Juvenile and Domestic Court. [Read more]