RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Mayor Levar Stoney announced today that the City of Richmond will implement an 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew starting tonight, following two nights of riots.
Stoney did not say how long the curfew will last and noted that people who are traveling to and from work or seeing medical care can still do so doing the curfew.
Gov. Ralph Northam has also made National Guard troops available to the city.
“I think it’s time we say enough is enough and this must end,” Stoney said.
Over the last two nights, peaceful protests turned to riots as demonstrators damaged property around the city, set fires and even shot a man. Stoney said the violence and destruction across the city is not the Richmond he knows.
“We saw local business, some black-owned businesses, that have served Richmond for decades vandalized and looted … bricks have flown through the windows of a synagogue,” he said.
“That’s an insult to the cause,” he said. “We all know what happened in Minneapolis. Those actions are an insult to the cause.”
He said people looting stores and burning buses was an insult to George Floyd’s memory and was not progress for black America.
“Don’t kid yourself,” he said.
Richmond Police Chief William C. Smith said the protests have started out peaceful each night and turned violent. He said the people who come to peacefully protest leave when the violence begins. Smith added Friday night’s protests were a bigger crowd and much more peaceful.
He police are looking into people from outside the Richmond area who have traveled to attend thes protests are are suspected of stirring up some of the violence.
The chief said some protesters set an occupied building on fire and then prevented officials from going inside. The chief had to pause because he started tearing up. He said they managed to save everyone.
“When you take a legitimate issue and hijack it for unknown reasons. That is unacceptable to me, that is unacceptable to the Richmond Police Department,” Smith said.
Stoney said he was thankful to the Richmond Police Department, Richmond Fire Department and Richmond Ambulance Authority for serving the community during these riots.
The protests and riots were in response to the death of George Floyd, who was seen on video last week being pinned down by three Minneapolis officers while in police custody. One officer, Derek Chauvin, is seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he continuously yells in distress.
Following the nationwide outrage, Chauvin was fired and has since been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.