Women to protest mayor’s stance following domestic violence arrest

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PETERSBURG, Va. (WTVR) – A silent protest is scheduled to take place Tuesday before the city council meeting in Petersburg.

Protesters are upset with comments Petersburg Mayor Brian Moore made following the arrest of Petersburg City Manager William Johnson III on domestic abuse related charges.

In a closed-door meeting Friday, Moore and Petersburg City Council decided to keep Johnson on the job pending the outcome in court.

“We understand that they [some citizens] are upset but we also need to realize that things happen in a domestic relationship,” said Mayor Moore following Friday’s closed-door meeting.

Johnson and his wife attended Friday’s meeting. Less than a week had passed since 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]

“It’s a personal issue. You’ve seen he and his family. They’re here in support,” Mayor Moore said. “We as a city, we need to look at what’s best for the city at this point.”

In an email to CBS 6 News, protester Marion Werkheiser wrote the Mayor’s comments minimize the “seriousness of domestic violence.”

She added, “the Mayor seems to think that domestic violence is no big deal. For far too many women in Virginia, domestic violence is happening and it is a very big deal.”

On Friday Mayor Moore said council would not make a  snap judgment following the city manager’s arrest.

“The citizens need to realize will we take the long course. We understand the allegations, but we’re going to do what’s best for the city,” he said.

When he attempted to reach the Mayor today,  CBS 6 senior reporter Wayne Covil was told by a city spokesman that Mayor Moore was out of town.

The silent protest is scheduled to take place Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 6:45 p.m. at the Union Train Station on River Street in Petersburg.