RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Police declared an unlawful assembly at the Robert E. Lee Monument for the second time in three nights, following ongoing protests and unrest in the city.
The latest declaration came just after 10:15 p.m. Friday after police say paintballs were fired at officers.
“One officer was struck. Please leave the area immediately. Failure to disperse will result in arrest,” Richmond Police said on Twitter.
In a statement released Saturday morning by RPD, police claim that from 10:32 to 11:13 p.m., in addition to paintballs, one officer was struck in the back of the helmet with a hard object and was taken to the hospital, and another was hit in the back of the neck with a hard object.
Police later reported that several other officers were shot by paintballs and struck by other hard objects. The officer who was transported to the hospital was treated and released for a possible head injury/concussion.
Virginia State Police tweeted body camera footage from 10:22 p.m. which shows fireworks being launched by protesters at the monument.
Various Twitter posts shared Friday night suggest tear gas was deployed to break up the unlawful crowd. However, in their release, RPD officials said they did not use tear gas, but did use pepper spray one time “due to ongoing assaults from the crowd.”
A video shot last night by Stephen Wozny shows police engaging with protesters. At 1:40 in the video, you can see an altercation between police and a protester with a bike.
Watch the video here:
Richmond Police made six arrests last night for offenses including unlawful assembly, trespassing, obstruction of justice and and assaulting an officer by firing paintballs. A paintball gun was recovered at the scene. Those arrested include:
- Christopher Anders, 28, male, of Richmond. Unlawful assembly (misdemeanor)
- Spencer Kelley, 29, male, of Richmond. Trespassing (misdemeanor) and obstruction of justice (misdemeanor)
- Andrew Kuykendall, 30, male, of Richmond. Unlawful assembly (misdemeanor)
- Caroline Matteson, 29, female, of Richmond. Unlawful assembly (misdemeanor) and obstruction of justice (misdemeanor)
- Jay Skinner, 27, male, of Richmond. Unlawful assembly (misdemeanor)
- Unnamed juvenile, 17, male, of Richmond. Unlawful assembly (misdemeanor), obstruction of justice (misdemeanor) and assault on a law enforcement officer with paintball (felony)
The news comes as more than 40 arrests have been made this week as a result of ongoing protests in the city. On Sunday, six people were arrested after police declared an unlawful assembly near the J.E.B Stuart statue. Days later, protests Wednesday night into Thursday morning landed four more people behind bars, following an unlawful assembly declaration at Lee Monument.
Several businesses were also damaged. Protesters have refuted claims that they were the ones responsible for the damaging of property, however.
On Thursday night, 15 more were arrested by police after protesters gathered outside Commonwealth Attorney’s Colette McEachin’s home with a list of demands.
Citing mounting concerns of safety, the Department of General Services (DGS) announced Monday that the Robert E. Lee Monument grounds was to be closed to the public overnight for the foreseeable future.
Body camera footage from a VSP Trooper shows a Richmond Police officer shot by a paintball gun during the protest near the Robert E. Lee Monument.
This is a developing story. Stay with 8News for updates.