Capitol Police arrest two men at the Virginia War Memorial’s Veterans Day ceremony

Crime

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Two men were arrested after they got into “a disagreement about free speech” during a Veterans Day ceremony at the Virginia War Memorial, according to the Virginia Capitol Police.

The department said shortly after the ceremony began at 11 a.m., a man in a pickup truck drive down Second Street. He then came to an area that had been blocked off as a special parking zone, drove onto the sidewalk and around barricades, back onto a prohibited area of Second Street.

The truck was then parked in a “highly visible” spot to the ceremony’s crowd. In the bed of the pickup was a sign that said “F***k Biden.”

Capitol Police approached the driver, later identified as Ronald Hedlund, 60, of Glen Allen, and asked him to move. The driver refused to move and questioned the authority of the officers, who Capitol Police say have primary legal jurisdiction the War Memorial, which is on state property.

In order to avoid any further disturbances during the ceremony, officers decided to stay with Hedlund and his truck until it ended, and take additional actions afterward.

However, Carl Grunow, 58, a veteran from Chesterfield, came down out of the crowded amphitheater into the bed of the pickup truck. Grunow removed his suit jacket and tried to cover the banner. He was then detained by Capitol Police and escorted by officers to his car, before leaving the area.

Officials say there was no physical contact between Grunow and Hedlund.

Grunow declined to be interviewed by 8News but told us “I objected to the profanity in front of a family event.”

Hedlund was ticketed for parking in a tow-away zone and Grunow was issued a summons for disorderly conduct.

“Capitol Police officers made every attempt to de-escalate the matter and allow the ceremony to conclude first without interruption,” said Col. Anthony S. Pike, the agency’s chief. “We are very sensitive to a person’s right to freely speak their mind, but when they will not work with our attempts to de-escalate matters, we are left with little choice.”

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