RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Mayor Levar Stoney and Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith held a press conference about last night’s riot on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.
Chief Smith took the podium and immediately addressed the planned Monroe Park profanity-laced flyer circulating on social media. He said that the flyer was provoking ‘intimidation’ and was “clearly from outside of Richmond.”
200 Virginia State Police troopers responded to the protest last night to assist the Richmond Police Department.
Smith continued to discuss the riots that led to a dump trick being set on fire — and said he will bluntly refer to those who took park as “rioters.”
Six individuals were arrested for Unlawful Assembly throughout the course of the night.
Smith said that officers were assaulted with bricks and batteries — and thanked Richmond Fire Department for their swiftness in tending to multiple fires that were started across the city by rioters. He said three of the fires were started at RPD HQ.
Chief Smith continued by thanking the leadership of Black Lives Matter — and says they did not participate in the violence that happened Saturday night that saw police encounter rioters until around 2:30 a.m.
He also said that the groups that took part were clearly there to incite violence — and says he believes ANTIFA took part in the protest.
Listing the ‘Boogaloo Boys’ as one of the groups present, Chief Smith says a majority of the individuals in the riots were Caucasian.
Mayor Levar Stoney then took to the podium after Chief Smith’s statements.
“White supremacists were marching under the banner of Black Lives Matter,” Mayor Stoney said. “I would like to give a thanks to Black Lives Matter — it was not them. They shared the fliers and had concerns. It was not them and they told their members not to come. This group came to bring violence to the city and that is not us.”
He also addressed the difference between Saturday night’s incidents and protests that have occurred throughout the past several weeks.
“Here in Richmond, our standard for protests is all protesters walk away safe. That’s not what happened last night,” Stoney said. “What happened last night was violence that hurt many people in the Richmond community — both in the threatening of lives and destruction of property. That is unacceptable.”
Stoney said that as a last resort for the police department, an Unlawful Assembly was declared and the use of chemical irritants was approved.
“What changed last night? There were white supremacists marching under the BLM symbols/banners. To me, it is no coincidence that after 24 days of peaceful protests we had White Supremacists in our city and it was disgusting. It’s not the Richmond we know. What we saw last night undermines the work that the community has been doing for the last few months,” Stoney added.
Richmond Police said this is an ongoing investigation and more information will be released.
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