Lorraine Bates continues protesting Mayor Hal Marx

Updated: Jun. 1, 2020 at 6:11 PM CDT
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PETAL, Miss. (WDAM) - Lorraine Bates was outside of Petal City Hall all weekend protesting Mayor Hal Marx’s comments on the death of George Floyd.

On Monday, she came back, saying the protest is not over and should continue until the matter is resolved.

She wears chains around her feet and wrists and a black veil on her head and walks back and forth singing.

“First of all, we got to get him out the office, we gotta get master Marx out the office," Bates said.

"Then, for the protests to stop in these other places, they have to go and arrest those other three officers,” Bates added.

Another woman was on her morning run when she noticed Bates sitting by herself.

“I saw Lorraine out here by herself and I want her to know that what she’s doing is important, so I came to sit with her and protest with her,” said Emily Burdette.

Bates told me she’s been protesting since she was in the seventh grade.

“This needs to stop. It’s time for it to stop, but as long as it’s going on and I’ve got life in my body, I’m gonna protest,” Bates said.

Protesters have already announced they’ll be at Tuesday’s Board of Alderman meeting. Bates says she will too.

“I know I’ll be here by the help of the good Lord, it takes more than just one," Bates said. "One can start it, but it takes a whole lot of us to change what’s going on around here.”

Marx has been criticized for comments he made on social media regarding video of Floyd’s arrest that has circulated online and caused outrage, protests and an FBI investigation.

The video shows Floyd, a black man, yelling “I can’t breathe” repeatedly while a white Minneapolis police officer pinned him down with a knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes.

Floyd died while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minn.

The Board of Aldermen requested Marx’s resignation last week, which he refused to do.

Petal Police Chief Matthew Hiatt released the following statement on the protests and the death of Floyd Monday:

"Let me begin by saying the protests that have been conducted remained peaceful. Those who were there demonstrated themselves in a way that was civil. Thank you.

There are moments that occur where an individual must stand for purpose. As a police officer, we are sworn to do that each and every day. A purpose that is meant to serve people... all people... all mankind... in a professional, decent and respectful manner.

The events that occurred in Minneapolis that resulted in the death of George Floyd are tragic. It breaks my heart to see that man beg for his life... to take his final breath... under the knee of another that took an oath to protect him. There is no justification for that officers actions. Regardless of what transpired prior to that, that situation was contained once the handcuffs were in place. Besides that there were three other officers present. Those officers also failed. One, just one, could have intervened... should have stepped in to do the right thing. Police have to police themselves. We are held to a high standard and we should perform that way.

If during the scope of our duties someone is injured, it is our responsibility... it is our obligation... not only as police officers, but as human beings to render aid. Those officers refused to do that.

I do not agree nor will I stand with anyone who justifies or claims those officers actions were reasonable. Period. Neither will any other member of this department. Period.

The men and women of the Petal Police Department are trained professionals. They are dedicated to serving this community with integrity and honor. I have the utmost respect and confidence in each one of them.

Those officers, as the ones in Minneapolis, are despised by us as much as anyone else. They unfortunately taint the image of all law enforcement. That part is unfair to the rest of us.

That’s where I ask you to remember and know that not all police officers fit in this category. Those that I serve with here at the Petal Police Department, along with many others from surrounding agencies, are men and women who share a common goal. A goal to protect and serve all people... all mankind... with the ethics that those we are serving deserve.

I have, and always will, serve this community and lead this department with passion and a sincere heart. I bring those emotions to you now.

God bless you all."

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