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Billings mayor praises police, protest organizers

Posted at 9:22 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 23:22:25-04

Mayor Bill Cole said Sunday's protest in downtown Billings over the death of George Floyd was a good way for the community to enact change.

"I attended the rally on Sunday because I wanted to observe and acknowledge the fact that the death of George Floyd never should have happened. And because I wanted to support many in our community who are hurting right now. I also wanted to hand out masks for anyone who needed one and to see how our police department would handle the event,” Cole told Q2 News Monday.

He praisedpolice and organizers of the protest, which attracted more than 1,000 people.

“I thought the organizers and Chief (Rich) St. John got an A plus for the way they managed the rally. They worked together as a team before the event occurred and the police presence was supportive but understated. Just about everyone was very respectful and peaceful and I was very proud of our community," Cole said.

Cole says he wants three things to come out of this event.

  • More resources for drug prevention and mental health.
  • An increase in minorities on the Billings police force.
  • Pressure on Montana's lawmakers to better fund the state Division of Criminal Investigations.

Cole says the protest was an historic event that brought people from all walks of life to show the death of Floyd, who died in late May at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, was wrong.