As Protests Continue, Richmond Police Escalate Violence

Ruben Fields
June 3, 2020

"I want to see the Governor on Facebook Live all day on the phones, so I can watch them", a Richmond man named Jerry said.

An angry crowd shouted down Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney Tuesday after police lobbed tear gas at a group of peaceful demonstrators during a protest over the death of George Floyd. Richmond is one of more than 20 cities nationwide under curfew in response to the widespread protests over police brutality against African Americans and other people of color.

Many businesses along W. Broad Street from Arthur Ashe Boulevard to the Arts District, already left cleaning up broken glass and graffiti Sunday morning from Saturday night's protests, were left on edge, though there were far fewer reports of property damage Sunday.

"They prohibited us from getting on scene", the police chief continued. The protesters on foot, numbering in the hundreds, were joined by dozens of cars who honked their horns in support as protesters chanted, staying on the streets until after midnight.

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"At this point, these bad actors are hijacking the cause", Stoney said. This is not the only occupied building that has been set fire to over the last two days. "You're not demonstrating, you've made it about you when it should be about us".

Richmond Police Chief Will Smith repeatedly stopped to compose himself as he detailed how protesters blocked the fire department from responding to a multi-family residence that was set ablaze early Sunday during George Floyd demonstrations. "We had to force our way to make a clear path for the fire department".

"To the peaceful protesters that were gassed tonight, please come", Stoney tweeted, along with an announcement of the event at City Hall. "We know that this is an organized effort, we're committed to try and identify those that are behind it and we're doing our level best to arrest those perpetrating the violence on our community".

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