HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Dozens of people marched in Henrico County today, protesting the decision to scrap plans for a civilian review board. The board would have overseen the police department.
Activists gathered from noon until 4 p.m. to march from JR Tucker High School to the Henrico County Police Department to support their demands.
Black Lives Matter 804 said in a statement that after the year of violence directed toward Black people nationally and locally, this review board is something that’s needed.
A civilian review board is one of many criminal justice reform ideas considered by localities all over the country after the death of George Floyd.
Chlo’e Edwards, President of Black Lives Matter 804, said scrapping plans to check police should not have been an option.
“Henrico County has simply been inactive,” Edwards said. “What a civilian review board would do is promote police accountability through an independent investigative office to hold the police accountable for their misconduct.”
Tyrone Nelson, the Varina District Supervisor for Henrico County, pulled the plug on his plans for the review board in May, citing that he didn’t have enough support.
Today, he is said he hears the calls for action.
“Today’s protest is a continued expression of the importance of voices being heard,” Nelson said. “Many citizens have encouraged me to continue our fight for a civilian review board and transformation in our justice systems.”
Citizens like 13-year-old child activist Elijah Lee say you can’t deny the importance of an issue when you have people of different cultures and backgrounds standing together in solidarity.
“There are young people, there are elder people, there are middle-aged people, there’s black, there’s white, there’s women there’s men out here who are ready to call for a true change,” Lee said.
The President of Urban League Greater Richmond Young Professionals, Shante Stevens, said where there is no justice, there is no peace.
“This isn’t about just us versus you,” Stevens said. “This is about all of us coming together and being safe in this world and really showing that Black lives matter.”
Advocates also marched for two Virginia men who are looking for justice.
The two men, Terrence Claiborne and Ferrone Richardson are currently locked up in a federal prison in Petersburg for conspiracy to sell crack cocaine and for the murder of Waverly police officer Allen Gibson.
The pair have always maintained they had nothing to do with the 1998 murder of Officer Gibson. Their attorney is now saying there is new evidence and statements that were revealed in new court filings pointing to a new suspect.
Stevens said she stands with Claiborne and Richardson.
“Black lives must matter across every component of our systems,” explained Stevens. “We stand with the families of Ferrone and Terrence through our demands, which includes to free those wrongfully convicted.”
Edwards urged county officials to look at the requests coming from their constituents and to put the effort forward in making a change.
“We hope Henrico County will hear our demands and will begin to pursue a civilian review board. If they truly care about Black Lives Matter,” she said.