Richmond Police Taser Protester, Crush Tents With Earth-Moving Equipment at Lee Statue

By Arianna Coghill

July 31, 2020

Video shows an officer using a taser-like device on a man being held down by four other officers has circulated social media.

Authorities cleared several encampments of protesters near the statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee on Thursday at 8 a.m., making at least two arrests in the process. Several demonstrators said officers were armed with assault rifles and approaching individuals aggressively. 

Richmond police delivered a summons the day prior that said occupants were in violation of a camping ordinance that bans anyone from quartering on public ground maintained by the city. 

According to reports from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, officers and protesters got in a scuffle after several minutes of talking. Officers deployed pepper spray and, according to the RPD, “conducted an electrical device.” 

A video of a man being wrestled by five officers has been circulating social media, showing the police using a taser-like device on the man.

“That’s not necessary. He’s already on the ground,” an off-camera voice said in the video. 

Authorities also confiscated or destroyed numerous items like tents, chairs, clothes, and bottles of water that belonged to the protesters. Tents were crushed by earth-moving equipment and loaded into a dump truck. 

Justin Killough and Kadia Taylor were arrested and charged with assault on a law enforcement officer. Richmond police have not supplied further details on those arrests. 

According to a demonstrator who identified herself as Sade, police gave occupants on the north side of the statue less time to pack up than people on the west side, which led to the altercations. 

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