Questions arise as protesters who defied Richmond’s curfew won’t face jail time

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The decision from Richmond’s top prosecutor to waive jail time for those who violated the city’s curfew during last week’s protests has raised the question: Do curfews have any meaning anymore?

The curfew was imposed following protests that turned into riots where fires were set, windows were smashed and shops were looted. Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin announced Monday that those charged solely with being out after hours will not be incarcerated.

8News asked McEachin for an interview Tuesday but she turned down the request, instead she offered a statement that said, in part, that there are levels of accountability and prosecutors have the discretion to make the call.

“My decision to waive jail regarding those charges is consistent with this office’s position following similar past peaceful protest activities,” McEachin wrote in her statement.

Many people have reached out to share their disapproval of the decision. 8News’ Facebook page has been flooded with comments ranging from “why have a curfew with no consequences?” to “what’s the point of having laws?”

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney requested the curfew from Gov. Ralph Northam but later asked the curfew arrest charges to be dropped. 8News was not granted an interview after asking the mayor’s office for one Tuesday. Jim Nolan, a spokesman for Stoney, instead shared a statement with 8News regarding the curfew.

“The curfew was intended as a tool to deescalate instances of violence,” Nolan said. “Those who actually did hurt the community through violent or destructive behavior are now facing the consequences and those who did not, are not.”

Since the governor granted the request, 8News decided to ask him to weigh in on the matter.

“I was asked by the Mayor to apply a curfew which we agreed to,” Northam said. “As far as the commonwealth’s attorney’s position that’s something that they are going to need to speak to. I don’t have authority over that.”

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