Protesters call for an end to police brutality. Richmond police respond by chasing them.
RICHMOND-Richmond residents took to the streets Wednesday night, calling for an end to police brutality. They pointed to the recent shooting of Daunte Wright in Minnesota. Others brought up Virginia cases, like the still unresolved killing of Donovon Lynch in Virginia Beach, the shooting of Orlando Carter and, of course, Xzavier Hill. But what made Wednesday night’s protest so bizarre was how Richmond police responded.
Some of Dogwood’s footage from the evening shows police actively chasing protesters through the streets. To be clear, as our Twitter video shows, protesters did nothing to provoke. They simply marched through the area. A police vehicle almost hit one Dogwood reporter as it drove on the wrong side of Broad Street to try and cut protesters off as they made their way through the streets.
The Protest Starts
Around a hundred protesters gathered at Monroe Park last night for a “Rise Up Against Police Brutality” demonstration. There was no clear organizer of the event, so protesters collectively decided to start moving downtown towards the Dominion Energy offices on Main Street.
Protesters moved throughout the city chanting “every city, every town, burn the precincts to the ground,” and “money for housing, not police! Money for housing, not casinos!”
Once they arrived at the Dominion Energy building, protesters rerouted themselves back uptown and towards Broad Street. That’s when the police arrived and began closely tailing protesters in several marked and unmarked vehicles. Witnesses said police exited their vehicles then but were too slow to reach protesters before they reached Broad Street.
“I didn’t really see any police presence until we were downtown on 4th Street. And then about 20 RPD vehicles with lights flashing rolled up from behind coming from the South on 4th Street. And they all just kind of parked up and a bunch of cops jumped out in full riot gear. They were all RPD officers from what I can see. But by the time they’d all unloaded the march had moved on up to Broad Street.” said Jimmie Lee Jarvis, a protester.
Cut Off By Police
Protesters crossed Broad Street and started to turn onto a sidestreet. Police vehicles appeared on both sides of the side street, however, pursuing them. The vehicles in pursuit of protesters last night included an armored vehicle, or tank.
Trapped between two large squads of police vehicles, protesters moved onto the sidewalk on Broad Street and continued to march uptown. Then, the police vehicles pursuing protesters abruptly pulled over to the side of the road. Police officers clad in full, head-to-toe riot gear emerged from the vehicles and began following protesters on foot.
According to witnesses at the scene, there was no reason why police suddenly decided to emerge from their cars and pursue protesters in riot gear through the streets of Richmond.
“I didn’t see any behavior that I would typically expect to provoke a big riot cop response. I didn’t see any windows getting smashed or any vandalism. Just people peacefully marching in the street,” said Jarvis.
Protesters scattered in every direction, ending the demonstration less than an hour after they began marching. Many were chased off by police officers, but reports of arrests last night have not yet been confirmed by Richmond police.
Meg Schiffres is Dogwood’s associate editor. You can reach her at [email protected].