RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Keenan Angel and Kristin Dahlstrand consider themselves victims.
The pair say they were peacefully marching from downtown Richmond to the Robert E. Lee statue on Monday, June 1. According to them, the calm scene turned into chaos once Richmond Police officers deployed tear gas to demonstrators.
“We all started chanting peacefully and got down on one knee and said “hands up, don’t shoot” and right shortly after that, seconds after that, Richmond Police started deploying tear gas,” Dahlstrand told 8News.
“When they did that, there was no warning,” Angel added. “Whoever was coordinating the attack on the protesters never pulled out a megaphone and never gave warning for why they were going to tear gas.”
Angel and Dahlstrand told 8News they are among many protesters who are frustrated by the police response during their peaceful demonstrations. Now, Angel has drafted and shared on social media a formal complaint that victims may use to file against the Richmond Police Department.
“There is injustice here in our city that we have to stand up against,” said Angel, who encourages those who felt wronged by the police during protests to speak out.
As Richmond Police continue to deal with backlash over the tear-gassing incident, the department’s chief Will Smith has apologized, reiterating that its deployment should have never happened.
Detailing the effects of the incident to 8News, Angel says “I was one of the people on the front lines in a lot of the videos that were shared on social media and within 24 hours of being tear gas[sed], I had severe swelling in my eye.”
Now demonstrators want police to be held accountable.
“Those officers need to be completely removed, fired,” Dahlstrand said.
According to Angel, about 50 protestors have filed a complaint as of Tuesday night. He adds that he expects that number to rise in the coming days.
8News reached out to Richmond Police to learn the exact number of complaints that have been filed against the department during protests.