Richmond police officers share frustrations in impromptu meeting with Stoney

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — As Richmond’s new interim police chief was being introduced Thursday, Mayor Levar Stoney was speaking with a group of police officers who expressed their frustration over recent events that have occurred across the city.

William “Jody” Blackwell, a 22-year veteran of the department who most recently served as a major, was selected to be interim chief after former Richmond police chief, William Smith, was forced out by Stoney following days of clashes between protesters and police.

The mayor was scheduled to introduce Blackwell but he accepted the request “from a number of police officers who were in the lobby” for a meeting beforehand, police spokesperson Gene Lepley said.

“I thought it was very important that I had a conversation with the officers of the Richmond Police Department before talking to the press,” Stoney told reporters. “I prioritize that and that’s what we did we had a conversation.”

Sources told 8News’ Kerri O’Brien that the officers who met with Stoney were wearing shirts that read “I stand with 2140,” referencing former police chief William Smith’s “code” number. (photo taken by 8News)

When asked by 8News’ Alex Thorson what the officers and he talked about, the mayor shared that the officers aired out their grievances about what they’ve experienced amid protests.

“We talked about what occurred on last few weeks here in the city,” he explained. “They’re exhausted, they were able to express to me their frustrations as well. Obviously every time they put the uniform on and go to work they want to come home as well. They’ve witnessed a number of things over the last two weeks, two officers were shot.”

Sources told 8News’ Kerri O’Brien that the officers who met with Stoney were wearing shirts that read “I stand with 2140,” referencing former police chief William Smith’s “code” number.

WATCH: Mayor Stoney speaks with reporters about meeting with Richmond police officers

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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