The mayor issued the following statement today, following the local police union’s request last week that the Pensacola City Council investigate him for misuse of position and intimidation due to an alleged incident that occurred during the Oct. 19 Gallery Night event downtown.
Statement by Mayor Ashton Hayward on Gallery Night issues
The City, the Downtown Improvement Board (DIB), and downtown business owners have worked hard to make Downtown Pensacola walkable, safe, and inviting. Gallery Night is Downtown Pensacola’s signature event, and an opportunity to showcase our downtown businesses to thousands of visitors.
At recent Gallery Night events, the closure of Palafox Street has extended through midnight due to corporate sponsorships which have covered the cost of security and liability insurance. Unfortunately, the DIB could not obtain such sponsorship for the October 19 Gallery Night, and many attendees were unaware that Palafox Street would be opened at 9:00 PM.
As the Chief Executive Officer of the City of Pensacola, it is my job to ensure that our police officers interact with citizens in a positive and respectful manner, and those issues will be addressed internally. I am currently working with the Chief of Police and the DIB to refine our protocol on how to best manage large events. I respect and appreciate our police officers, and I look forward to working together to make sure Gallery Night and other downtown events are safe and inviting.