RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Protests in response to the death of George Floyd continued in Richmond through the weekend with various marches and groups gathering around the city.
The events culminated on Sunday night and the early hours of Monday with a standoff between protestors and Richmond Police that resulted in one arrest and police deploying a chemical agent against the crowd.
8News has created a weekend recap with the latest information gathered from our reports.
Thousands gathered in Richmond to participate in Virginia’s 5000 Man March — including a speech from the cousin of George Floyd, the man killed by a police officer in Minneapolis.
In an emotional speech, Tavares Floyd spoke about the many different racial inequalities the black community faces throughout the nation and here in the Commonwealth.
Floyd asked everyone to take a deep look at themselves and implored them to be the change they want to see.
“I can’t breathe,” Floyd said, reciting some of his cousin’s final words. “My cousin perished and he died pleading for his mother, and he died at the hands of police officers. That’s what it means to be a black man in this country.”
Floyd also said that when he saw what had happened to his cousin, he saw George was carrying more than just the weight of the officer, but the weight of the nation — on his neck.
A video circulating on social media and shared with 8News shows protesters on bikes, and on foot, interacting with a Richmond Police vehicle near the Robert E. Lee Monument.
Demonstrators said that the vehicle drove into the crowd as they were peacefully protesting.
A video shared by @BreRVA on Twitter shows a Richmond Police Department SUV being blocked by a group of protesters, and eventually driving through them.
Mayor Levar Stoney announced Sunday morning on Twitter that he requested the Commonwealth’s Attorney to investigate the Saturday night incident involving the Richmond Police vehicle and protestors.
Stoney said while the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s investigation is underway, he wants the department to place the officer who was involved on administrative leave.
Religious leaders in Richmond joined together in a call for justice on Sunday afternoon to demonstrate unity between all churches of color in support of Black Lives Matter.
Those who attended the “United March for Black Lives Matter” marched down Laburnum Avenue with signs while chanting for unity throughout the city.
On Sunday evening, Richmond Police released a statement in response to the incident between a police vehicle and protestors on Saturday evening.
RPD’s release states that around 9:30 p.m. Saturday, several officers in a marked SUV were “trapped by protesters” on N. Allen Avenue.
Police said the videos circulating on social media show protesters on foot, and with bicycles, refusing to allow the officers to pass, blocking the roadway.
According to RPD, objects were thrown at the police SUV, causing extensive damage. For safety concerns, RPD said officers remained inside their vehicle. The officer driving tried to back up and leave the area and that’s when protesters reportedly assaulted the officer through an open window.
“A protester held onto the side of the police vehicle as it attempted to leave,” Richmond Police said in a statement. “The person then fell backwards over a bicycle as the officers were trying to leave the area again. As the officers drove away, protesters continued to throw more objects at the police SUV.”
The release contradicted claims from protesters and led to outrage on Sunday night.
Incidents from the night before and other recent events led protesters to gather near Richmond Police Headquarters and demand answers to the video involving the Richmond Police vehicle and protesters.
Their presence resulted in a standoff with law enforcement that lasted for hours.
Hannah Eason, a Virginia Commonwealth University student and journalist with the Commonwealth Times, was at the scene and provided 8News video of what looks like police spraying a chemical agent at protesters. Eason was among the many attendees who shared video, photos and information on Twitter throughout the night.
Henrico Police confirmed to 8News they were at the scene as well in response to a mutual aid request.
Community members on social media called for the release of a 22-year-old community organizer who was arrested in the standoff with Richmond Police in the early morning hours.
Micheala Hatton was arrested on felony charges of assaulting an officer and conspiring to incite a riot. Hatton, age 22, was released from jail earlier today and her case is continued until July 14.
The Richmond Community Bail Fund tweeted that Hatton received a Personal Recognizance Bond.
8News has reached out to authorities for more information regarding the events leading up to the arrest.
Richmond City Councilman Michael Jones released a statement on Monday regarding the weekend’s incidents:
“Protestors in Richmond, while demonstrating their First Amendment right to gather and protest, have been adversely impacted by the harmful tactics that the Richmond Police Department has used against protestors,” Councilman Jones said.
Councilman Jones has proposed withdrawing funds from areas associated with aggressive policing and relocating them to community support functions.