Dover's Legislative Green

Dover's Legislative Green

When Dover's DeAndre Valentine set up Sunday's protest rally in downtown Dover after the death of George Floyd last week, he said he couldn't have foresaw how the night would end in Delaware's capital.

"I organized it to show that as a city we can have a peaceful voice, and we can come together without torturing our own city to show that we have a voice, and that we are able to cause reform and change."

Valentine said he took his group on a tour of Dover, stopping at Loockerman Street, the Dover Police station, and Legislative Hall, before calling it a day after about three hours.

"Me as a leader of that group, that peaceful protest group, I broke it up. We said what we had to say. Let this not be one day of our voice, but many days of our voice."

That's when he said the dynamic changed. 

Another group splinted from the end of his rally, went back out Division Street, and when went on a roughly two-mile walk of Route 13 in Dover, cutting off the main artery of the city for about two hours.

Under the watch of the Dover Police, who helped control traffic, the group continued to the Dover Mall, where they were then directed off of the dual highway.

Moments later, the front glass of the Forever 21 was broken into, and the looting began. It continued onto other locations, including the Best Buy, where more glass was broken.

Valentine's reaction to their next move?

"Thugs, that's what they are, they are thugs. Breaking in, stealing from their own city, that's what they're doing."

Valentine said once he heard what was going on, he went back out to try to put an end to the unrest.

"As the leader of the peaceful protest, I had to go out there, I had to break it up, and that's what I did. I went to the mall, anybody who was still there, I gave them a speech on peace, unity, and why we shouldn't be doing this thing. Everybody left the mall, the mall was cleared after that, they then went on to Best Buy, the State Police, and destroying the rest of our city over their own ignorance. People that are out there right now, they're not part of Black Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, they're not part of it, they're part of something different. They're part of the tyranny, they're being basically homegrown terrorists, that's what they're being right now."

Valentine said he wanted to stop it immediately.

"When I organized this, I didn't want it to go to this, and I'm doing whatever I can to stop this. I don't care if I can't reach everybody, if I can reach one person, maybe that one person can reach someone else and stop it."

As a result of the looting, Dover Mayor Robin Christansen instituted a curfew in the city from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. until further notice. Valentine approved.

"If it stops the madness that's going on right now, put everyone in the house at 8 o'clock if you have to. It's not fair to everybody else who wants to be peaceful, and wants to show that we can move forward as a country."

Valentine said he doesn't want the second wave to ruin the good work from earlier in the day.

"This group that broke into our mall, our mall that our families work at, shop at, and our kids go to, that was not my protest, that was not us. Dover Police Department knows me, they know what my mission was, they saw what I was doing, and they had no problem with the protest. They didn't bother our protest."

As for healing, Valentine said problems won't be fixed in one peaceful day, or one destructive night.

"It's a process. The only way we can can heal, is if we come together. We can't be mad at the police, we can't mad at the people who aren't accountable for this, we can't be mad at everybody."

By around 11:30, most of Dover's streets had cleared after police were forced to once again close Route 13 near the Mall and Speedway.