RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith addressed the recent unrest in the city on Monday as he stood in front of a dump truck that was torched during a violent weekend in Virginia’s capital.
Smith held a press conference after demonstrations over the weekend ended with several arrests and thousands of dollars in property damage. Police said that 17 people, including two juveniles, were arrested on Sunday night.
There was a wide array of charges on Sunday. Most of them people were charged with trespassing, rioting, rioting with a weapon and blocking roadways. Rioting with a weapon is a felony. At least two people were charged with rioting with a weapon.
Smith said on Sunday, another flyer like the one pictured above began circulating encouraging violence. He told 8News investigators believe the same extremist groups from outside Richmond are responsible for both flyers and both days of rioting.
“I think the intent for those flyers is to stir it up,” he said. Police provided a list of the people who were arrested:
- Emily Anderson, 21, Williamsburg – Rioting
- Mekdas Charles, 21, Falls Church – Trespassing
- Madeleine Conger, 30, Charlottesville – Trespassing
- Elsi Del Pino, 25, Richmond – Trespassing
- Robert Fleece, 36, Henrico – Transporting a Loaded Rifle within City Limits, Possessing a Weapon with an Extended Magazine
- Jack Glass, 24, Richmond – Rioting with a Weapon (Felony)
- Markeith Jackson, 25, Richmond – Transporting a Loaded Rifle within City Limits
- Ronald Johnson, 33, Henrico – Transporting a Loaded Rifle within City Limits
- Lila-Jad Koumtakoun, 22, Richmond – Pedestrian in the Roadway, False ID to Police to Avoid Arrest
- Taylor Maloney, 20, Richmond – Trespassing
- Robin Proffer, 26, Henrico – Trespassing
- Travis Pulley, 45, Richmond – Riot with a Weapon (Felony)
- Mitchell Shue, 26, Herndon – Trespassing
- Dexter Superville, 21, Richmond – Rioting, Possession with Intent to Deliver Crack Cocaine
- Justin Tenney, 27, Richmond – Block Traffic, No Seatbelt, Driver’s License Not in Possession
- Two Juveniles – not identified
Richmond police said those arrested for trespassing were in Monroe Park after 10 p.m. when the park was off-limits. Chief Smith said some of them were arrested outside of the park after leaving.
Police arrested six people linked to Saturday night’s riot. Four of the people arrested were from Richmond and the other two rioters were from outside the city.
- James Kelley, 29, Richmond – Unlawful Assembly
- Justin Killough, 26, Richmond – Unlawful Assembly
- Stephen Loughman, 29, Richmond – Unlawful Assembly – Rioting with a Firearm
- Wendell Lundy, 36, Hampton – Unlawful Assembly
- Alton Rittenour, 26, Richmond – Unlawful Assembly
- Justin Thompson, 28, Hopewell – Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer, Rioting
“We have to take action when we know violence is coming,” Smith said on Monday. “What we did last night, we took a proactive stance. When the group gathered in Monroe park and congregated after 10 p.m., RPD moved in and began to affect arrests.”
The chief also addressed some clashes with local journalists. He said local journalists’ credentials were questioned as some journalists on social media say they were detained outside of Monroe park.
“We have to look at individuals who claim to be members of the press and we have to look at them very carefully,” Smith said. “Those who claim to be the media, you must abide by the laws just as well.”
Smith then said he wants to improve the department’s relationship with journalists covering the demonstrations. He suggested journalists wear a specific vest that would clearly identify them, but said he understands that could make journalists a target among some demonstrators.
Now some are asking if the riots will continue. “General citizens are really kind of tired of it,” Smith said.
“The individuals who are left on the street, especially here in the last two days, I don’t think they’re interested in stopping. So right now, RPD will continue our stance and that is to make the city of Richmond safe,” the chief said.
Smith said the Black Lives Matter movement was not involved in the riots over the weekend. Police believe that both ANTIFA, a far left militant style group, and the Boogaloo Boys, a far right militant group, were involved in both nights of rioting. Smith explained that reasoning by saying the language and message on both flyers was the same.
RPD is working to determine if anyone arrested over the weekend is connected with any extremist groups.
The newly appointed police chief joined Mayor Levar Stoney for a Sunday afternoon press conference to address the damage that was done and the city’s response to the violent weekend.
During Sunday’s briefing, the newly appointed police chief said that officers were assaulted with bricks and batteries. Smith applauded the efforts of the Richmond Fire Department as they responded to multiple fires that were started across the city, noting that three fires were started outside Richmond police headquarters.
The chief also thanked the leadership of Black Lives Matter, saying members were not the ones participating in the violence that took place on Saturday and into Sunday.
Smith said that the groups that took part were clearly there to incite violence — and says he believes ANTIFA took part in the protest and listed the ‘Boogaloo Boys’ as one of the groups present.