Carney and protest organizer

Gov. John Carney talks with peaceful protest organizer Hyland Henry of Wilmington.

"That's not what we want."

The self-proclaimed organizer of the peaceful yet disruptive protest that halted traffic along Interstate 95, in response to the police killing of George Floyd, stopped Governor John Carney as he walked Market Street Sunday, surveying damage from protests that turned violent.

Hyland Henry, 32, a lifelong Wilmingtonian, told the governor and WDEL that the looting and rioting that occurred Saturday night wasn't at all what they wanted.

Henry said after peacefully dispersing from I-95, he and others went home to rest. He awoke to see violence and looting on Market Street. 

"That's not what we want, that's not our enemy; that's not our battle," said Henry.

"I can appreciate the frustration, certainly not at the level that so many of our people of color...for sure, but I think people, all people of good will--and that's most people in my view--want the best for everyone one of our children, every one of the citizens of our state," said Gov. Carney.

Henry said the looters and rioters defeated the whole message behind the peaceful protest.

"It's not a white and black thing.  Ya'll got support from all races.  I see Chinese out here, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans.  I saw all races out here marching out here," he said. "We went all day with no harm.  We went from 11 o'clock to 4 o'clock with no harm and ya'll came back and destroyed Market Street Mall. Now, when we come back to protest, they're going to think everybody's angry and that's not the case. Ya'll need to understand it's bigger than this."

He called those who took part in the violence and looting "followers."

"There was no leaders out here because the leaders would've stopped this...ya'll followed. I could have stopped this...and if you say you were a [leader] you're a fraud because you wouldn't have let them break up half of these black-owned businesses on Market Street Mall," said Henry.

"We need you guys to step up," said Carney to Henry.

Several stores posted signs in their business windows reading "black owned," and they were undamaged.

But not all African American businesses were so lucky. Henry pointed to one store that was torn up, whose owner looks out for the community.

"Sam looks out for everybody...ya'll tore his store up...that sh*t is sad. It's bigger than this. I understand ya'll angry. I understand ya'll want to get revenge, but ya'll got to do it the right way. Ya'll moving blindly. I need ya'll to move together, come together...if there's beef on the block, ya'll going to fight each other, that's not together." 

Henry recommended those who took part in the looting and rioting hurt business owners, instead, by hurting their pockets and not shopping or dining in their establishments.

"Start spending black.  If ya'll don't want to support them or ya'll mad at them, buy black. Ya'll hypocrites.  You're going to rob all these stores--they got insurance--once all that's covered, you're all going to be right back in the stores buying you put more money in their pockets. It doesn't make sense." 

Henry said, instead, those willing to die for the cause should think about their kids and the younger generation.

"We just want to be heard. You can't get your message across with violence cause they going to bring violence. We want to be heard; yes we're hurt, but there's a right time, there's a right place to do things, and that was wrong last night, that was completely wrong."

State Rep. Sherry Dorsey Walker, who represent Wilmington, echoed Henry's sentiments.

"I would encourage anyone who has it in their heart to do something that's going to hurt Wilmington--think about it--and please don't do so," she said. "Do not look the city; do not change this from what could have potentially been a social movement to shift everything, all the isms, and then shift it to something where it becomes a riot; it's totally necessary, and I'm just asking as a leader in this community that people really think it though...don't come downtown, don't mess up any of the communities, we're working diligently to uplift our communities, ourselves, and these are the kinds of things that don't lead to positive results."

The governor appealed for calm.

"What worries me is that it will create greater divisions, and that's not what we need right now. We need people coming together people of good will," Carney said. "We know that a small number can mess it up for the rest of us, so my appeal is for people to calm down, let's come together as Delawareans and let's make the progress that we need to--let's work on the real issues that exist."

Henry said he'd be out in Wilmington Sunday night working for peace.

"If ya'll want better for ya'll city, ya'll got to stop destroying ya'll city. It's bigger than this. It's bigger than this," said Henry.