RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond police said Tuesday that a dozen people were arrested and charged after refusing orders to leave a protest outside City Hall that was declared an unlawful assembly.
Protesters got to Richmond City Hall around 6 p.m. Monday where they blocked off E. Marshall Street and held a “sit-in” for a gathering referred to as “Reclamation Square.” Police said the group blocked the street with vehicles and set up tents outside of the building.
Those who attended the protest said they had discussions, screened a movie and got food catered. Many protesters claim the gathering was peaceful.
“There was a healing circle so basically there were main questions and everyone went around and kind of voiced their opinions,” said one protester who didn’t want to be identified.
Richmond police declared an unlawful assembly, which was announced to the protesters and posted on Twitter, at 12:42 a.m. Tuesday, a release from the department said. Officers arrested 12 people “who had not dispersed” after another 45 minutes.
“Richmond police says that was declared at 12:42 a.m. because of sit-ins, sit-downs, blocking traffic, blocking entrances, exits to buildings. Were you all blocking traffic, entrances, exits?” asked 8News Reporter Laura Perrot.
“I would say that… I’m not a lawyer but I don’t think those are grounds for declaring something unlawful,” said the anonymous protester.
According to the department, the crowd “threw traffic cones, barricades and concrete trash cans into the street” and also threw objects, including rocks, at officers. Police said one officer was hurt when he was hit on the arm by a hickory stick.
Virginia State Police posted on Twitter late Tuesday night that a protester attacked one Richmond Police officer and three state troopers with a wooden pole. According to the tweet, authorities were there to “safely disperse the rioters at City Hall overnight.” One trooper suffered a serious arm injury and another trooper had his helmet crack, State Police added.
Videos that circulated online showed officers using chemical agents on protesters. Police did not immediately respond to 8News’ request for comment regarding reports that tear gas, pepper spray and flash bangs were used during the protest and did not mention any measures they used in their release.
In the wake of the protest, Richmond City Councilman Michael Jones announced plans to introduce legislation barring police from using “militaristic weapons” on demonstrators.
The 12 people arrested are all from Virginia, with only not from Richmond. One protester was also charged with four counts of assaulting an officer. Police provided a list of the people who were arrested early Tuesday including the following:
- Adrianna E. Carpenter, 30, W/F, Richmond
- William A. Neer, 27, W/M, Richmond
- Stephanie R. Smith, W/F, 29, Richmond
- Lily V. Bova, 27, W/M, Virginia Beach
- Ha N. Tran, 29, A/F, Richmond
- Darian A. White, 23, W/F, Richmond
- Anthony J. Laudermilk, 22, W/M, Richmond
- Jasmine Naghedi, 22, Unknown/F, Richmond
- Alaja Patterson, 19, B/F, Richmond
- Deandre J.E. Quarles, 22, B/M, Richmond
- Jonathan A. Delk, 24, B/M, Richmond
Richmond police provided a page of a flyer that the department claims was being distributed during the protest. The flier shares guidelines on the protest’s principles, rules to follow and even who to call if arrests are made.
On Monday, the Richmond Police Department shared that six others were taken into custody for unlawful assembly during a protest Sunday night near J.E.B. Stuart statue.
Editor’s note, September 11, 2020: This article has been updated to remove identifying information for a protester whose charges were dismissed.