Jeff Pack
Staff Writer

On the heels of a protest held at the Temecula Duck Pond on Saturday, which was deemed an “unlawful gathering,” and another on Sunday, the executive board of the Temecula Valley Democrats (TVD) Chartered Club says they are facing “political pressure” from local politicians regarding the event. 

“It has come to the attention of the Temecula Valley Democrats Executive Board that any violence or destructive action taken by attendees of our candlelight vigil to Honor George Floyd at the Temecula City Hall this evening will be blamed squarely and publicly on the Temecula Valley Democrats organization,” the organization said in a statement provided to Valley News. 

More than 500 people are expected to attend the event scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 31 in Town Square Park in front of Temecula City Hall. 

On Sunday morning, Temecula City Manager Aaron Adams denied any such pressure was being put on the organization and said his city staff and Sheriff’s Department was working with them to provide a safe event. 

“I am patently denying any such interference with the organization by the Temecula Valley Democrats Club for this evening’s vigil,” Adams said via email after he was provided the statement issued by TVD. “Further, I know firsthand my office has communicated directly with the organizers in a spirit of cooperation and assistance. 

“In addition, I also know firsthand that Sheriff’s personnel has extended the same courtesy. We made this outreach to assure this evening is peaceful and safe for all those who choose to attend.”

TVD President Skyler Temple made it clear that city staff and RSO have been extremely helpful and the organization was not inferring anything to the contrary.

“I would like to make abundantly clear that city staff and police officers have been extremely helpful and supportive throughout all of this,” Temple said in a phone call.

TVD said they are indeed working with law enforcement to ensure a peaceful vigil. 

“The Temecula Valley Democrats intend for this event to be a peaceful time of mourning to celebrate and remember the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many other people of color killed by racially motivated violence,” the TVD statement reads. “In order to make this happen, Temecula Valley Democrats President Skylar Tempel is working directly with the Riverside County sheriff’s deputies assigned to Temecula to ensure that we promote public safety above all other concerns. Our organization disavows any violence at this, and all other, official club events.”

The group continued to push back against what they perceived to be behind-the-scenes political posturing. 

“This is unprecedented political posturing by our Temecula elected officials, who have not held other organizations to the same standard or level of expectation during public events,” the statement reads. “We will not back down; we will stand tall with our brothers and sisters of color to honor their memories this evening. We look forward to offering our support to help our community grieve.”

For more information on Sunday’s candlelight vigil in Temecula, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/2964180603699528/2969823199801935/?notif_t=admin_plan_mall_activity&notif_id=1590957836848951

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at jpack@reedermedia.com