'Politics are over:' Fayetteville mayor implores Market House demonstrators to relocate for safety reasons

Michael Lozano Image
Monday, July 13, 2020
Fayetteville mayor implores Market House demonstrators to relocate
Fayetteville mayor implores Market House demonstrators to relocate

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin is asking the Ville's Voice to relocate after nearly a week of activists camping outside the Market House,

The group, made up of local residents and community activists, set up tents on July 9 at the steps of the historical building, known to be a place where enslaved people were once sold, to have their five demands addressed by city leaders.

RELATED: Activists camp out in front of the Market House in Fayetteville

Here are those demands:

  • A Citizen Review Board, not an advisory board, that includes community activists in the planning and implementation of the board.
  • A Public-Facing Police Misconduct Webpage that would make officer misconduct and violation reports by the Fayetteville Police Department available for public consumption.
  • Separate internal affairs investigation from the police department
  • End the use of chemical agents and adopt the '8 Can't Wait' procedures to deescalate situations.
  • Fund the community center/ community garden located at Orange St. School in an effort to promote a thriving community since it is the birthplace of educator, E. E. Smith.

RELATED: Fayetteville City Council votes to move forward with removing Market House imagery from city property

In the last week, the group has seen a wide array of support from other community members and businesses, receiving countless food and supply donations.

Organizers have utilized this support to feed the homeless and any other people looking to eat.

Mayor Colvin told ABC11 he spoke to group organizers on Friday and told them the city is already looking at addressing many of the points they've made.

In addition, Colvin says there are safety concerns at that high-traffic roundabout, which is why he's asking the group to move.

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Colvin went on to say "politics are over" and now it's about compliance with the law.

The mayor has put the enforcement of this request in the hands of Fayetteville PD and the city's legal team.

Rakeem Jones, one of the organizers of the Ville's Voice, told ABC11 they want to mend their relationship with Mayor Mitch Colvin, after some exchanges were made through social media.

"I'd like to publicly apologize to Mayor Mitch Colvin. This is me extending that olive branch, like, no matter what, I'm always going to be with my team, and I got my team, but we're going to also need his help. So, this is me extending my hand, like, let's work together," Jones said.

Fayetteville PD told ABC11 they "cannot confirm" if arrests will be made Monday evening.

An FPD spokesperson added that Chief Gina Hawkins will assess the situation Tuesday and determine a plan going forward.

Looking to the future: Fayetteville city leaders plan educational trip to Ala. as tool in deciding future of Market House

The city will hold a special meeting on July 20 at 5 p.m. to listen to Fayetteville PACT's recommendations for police oversight and policies.

Peondora Guillermi, another member of the group, said this is just the beginning for The Ville's Voice. They intend to make a positive impact within the community.

"We gonna keep pushing to get our demands heard. We are going to get out here, speak with people, and see exactly what it is that they feel might be able to make their life better," Guillermi said.

The group said it intends to camp out in the heart of downtown Fayetteville for as long as it takes for those six demands to be met.