RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — As a crowd of roughly 50 protestors called on the resignation of Gov. Ralph Northam outside the Executive Mansion on Monday, Capitol Police detained two people who reportedly worked together to vandalize a fountain in Capitol Square by turning it red with dye.
A male suspect, Patrick E. Talamantes, was charged with misdemeanor vandalism and littering after allegedly throwing dye into the water in the fountain, Capitol Police said.
Police witnessed Talamantes, of Sacramento, Calif, with a lime green shopping bag. He was seen taking a container of red dye from the bag and throwing it into the fountain at the southeast corner of Capitol Square.
Police told 8News that a woman, who had been spotted with a similar lime green shopping bag, was also taken into custody.
The woman, who was not identified, was sitting on a bench near the other fountain in Capitol Square. Police found balloons with dye in them and a pack of red dye in the bag the woman had.
The woman was not charged in the incident but can not return to Capitol Square for six months after receiving written notice. The investigation is ongoing and more charges could come.
“I cannot condemn strongly enough these criminal actions,” said Col. Anthony S. Pike, the Capitol Police chief. “We work diligently to protect the rights of people to come to Capitol Square and freely speak and to have a forum for being heard. What we saw happen here today goes way beyond that. No one has any right to damage property, public or private, in the name of free speech. It is inexcusable and criminal, and it will not be tolerated.”
The protestors calling for Northam to step down Monday were not permitted to go into Capitol Square because they lacked a permit.
Capitol Police also confirmed another arrest was made on Monday for an unrelated incident hours later. A woman, identified as Michelle Renay Sutherland, was arrested after she allegedly approached people in front of the Capitol’s Bank Street entrance when she was partially clothed, according to Capitol Police.
Sutherland, a 45-year-old from Florida, was charged with indecent exposure.