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Sioux City leaders advocate for peaceful and meaningful protests

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Sioux City, Iowa (KTIV) -- Sioux City leaders say the to create change is to keep things lawful and non-violent.

"I think it goes without saying that all of our officers are in total and complete support of the protests," said Rex Mueller, Sioux City Police Chief.

The Sioux City Police Department says they too want to honor George Floyd's memory, but in a peaceful way.

"We're going to welcome the peace-loving protesters and we're going to protect the peace-loving protesters. That's why we're here," said Mueller. "But we can't allow disobedience to impact the city. Too many people work too hard here in Sioux City to see bad things happen to our downtown, to our citizens."

Ike Rayford, the President of Sioux City's NAACP Chapter, says he understands the community's frustration and anger, but he emphasizes, we need to be smart and strategic about change.

"We have to do it in a way that it makes change, and change will stick and stay," said Rayford. "We understand you're frustrated, and we understand you want to protest. And if that's what you feel you need to do. We say do it peacefully. Come out and let your voice be heard. But also understand that if you are not on one accord and one cause, it totally takes away from the message that everybody wants to get out."

Rayford adds, the local NAACP chapter is in constant communication with local leaders, such as the police chief and district attorney.

The NAACP and the police department say they are not against the protests, they are against allowing the situation to get out of hand.

"We don't tell people not to come down," said Rayford, "If you want to come down to the police department and you want to raise your hand in solidarity and you want to take a knee, absolutely. But understand that from a safety standpoint, if you get violent, the police have to respond."

"We're here for the people who are protesting, and we are going to continue to be here for the people who are protesting," adds Mueller. "We just want it to be constructive."

In front of the police department on Monday, there was a petition to have the police wear body cameras.

Police Chief Rex Mueller says he agrees all officers should have body cameras, and they have been working to get them for the past three years. The issues, he says, is the high cost.

Stella Daskalakis

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