2 RPD officers charged after 18 indictments presented to grand jury over conduct during protests

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Two detectives have been charged after Richmond’s top prosecutor says she has presented 18 sealed indictments to a grand jury “concerning the actions of certain Richmond Police Department officers during the protests that occurred this summer.”

On Monday, Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin declared it was now up to a grand jury to determine whether there is probable cause to proceed with the charges. Later in the day, the grand jury returned sixteen indictments as “not a true bill.”

Two indictments were returned against two officers:

  • Christopher Brown, a detective with the department since 2015, charged with misdemeanor assault and battery
Christopher Brown
  • Mark Janowski – a detective with the department since 2014, charged with misdemeanor assault and battery

Police told 8News Tuesday that the incidents in question occurred at approximately 5:24 a.m. on May 31 in the 200 block of West Broad Street.

“These events are unfortunate,” said Chief Gerald Smith in an emailed statement. “However, we must allow the legal process to work. The officers will be placed on administrative assignment until a verdict is reached.”

Following the initial news that McEachin presented sealed indictments to a grand jury, 8News reached out to the CA’s office for clarity. When asked what prompted the grand jury, McEachin stated that the regular grand jury meets on the first Monday of every month.

“This is not a special grand jury, so nothing prompted ‘forming’ it,'” she told 8News’ reporter Ben Dennis.  

McEachin adds that the proper legal word is “presented,” not “recommended,” when referring to the indictments sent to the grand jury.

“Because the indictments are sealed, no further information can be provided until they have been served,” McEachin stated.

Protesters have spoken out against police use of tear gas, flash bangs and more after protests and riots began in Richmond late May, following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Earlier this summer McEachin responded to complaints against Richmond police amid the unrest.

In July, her office cleared RPD of wrongdoing after reviewing five civil complaints. The probe included whether an officer deliberately drove their vehicle through a crowd of protestors in June, whether an officer spat on a protester and if an officer painted themself in blackface.

8News reached out to Richmond Police Department for further comment.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News for updates.

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