HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Black Lives Matter 757 has organized several protests over the past five days in Hampton Roads, including one at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront on Sunday in which police tear-gassed protesters.
Black Lives Matter said in a Wednesday press conference it had no role “in any way shape or form” in the damage at Peninsula Town Center, according to leader Aubrey Japharii Jones.
Wednesday’s press conference was organized in response to events in the past week, including Tuesday night’s protest in Hampton that resulted in 10 arrests and property damage.
He said other “splinter groups” are using social media to pass themselves off as his organization.
“We understand that the community is hungry. Individuals do not have jobs,” Jones said, “but we cannot destroy our own community.”
They want police to adopt a three-step process for abusive officers beginning with a warning, Then disciplinary action and then up to termination for a third offense.
Meanwhile, a longtime resident of Hampton brought her grandchildren to Peninsula Town Center to see the damage.
“To show them what the world is like and society is like,” said the woman who gave only her first name, Mary.
She agrees with the concept of peaceful protest for a purpose. But if one of her kids ever got arrested for looting and stealing – she’s telling them don’t expect her to post their bail.
“If you were my child, I would leave you locked up. If you hit any one of these stores, I would leave you locked up.”
The Tuesday night protest in Hampton was not affiliated with Black Lives Matter 757, with the group saying beforehand that it “could be a set-up.” It was peaceful until about midnight, when protests gave way to vandalism and looting. Police made 10 arrests, 8 adults and 2 juveniles, and say a female protester was injured.
Previous Demonstrations in Hampton Roads (note: not all of these were solely organized by Black Lives Matter 757):
- Monday, June 1: Protests, demonstrations continued throughout Hampton Roads Monday night; 26 arrested in VB
- Sunday, May 31:VB puts curfew in place at 8 p.m. Monday as demonstrations continue throughout Hampton Roads
- Saturday, May 30:Hundreds gather in Norfolk and Portsmouth protesting police brutality following Floyd death; NPD Chief Boone speaks to crowd
- Friday, May 29: Protesters shut down I-64 in Hampton in response to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis