Richmond mayor apologizes to angry crowd after police tear gassed protesters ahead of curfew Monday


UPDATE 1:10 P.M.

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney met with protestors today at to apologize for police activity Monday night that resulted in peaceful demonstrators being tear-gassed before the 8 p.m. curfew.

Hundreds of people demonstrated today at Richmond City Hall prior to the Mayor’s arrival and continued to shout after he arrived asking for his resignation and Richmond Police Chief William Smith to be fired.

“I apologize, we violated your rights,” Stoney said to the crowd.

Stoney has had a hard time addressing the crowd because of the number of people talking at the demonstration. But he received cheers when he said, “I will march with you. I will stand with you.” 

Smith also addressed the crowd saying, “We have made mistakes. We are working hard to fix this. It’s my city too.” He then knelt and took a knee with demonstrators.

A protestor in the crowd read a list of demands that includes police giving a verbal warning before deadly force is used and eliminating the choke-hold maneuver.

Speakers at the event also called for Mayor Stoney and Chief Smith to join their protest tonight at the State Capital and walk with them.

Previous coverage below

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney wants to apologize to peaceful demonstrators who were tear-gassed before curfew Monday night.

Day four of protests in Richmond started out peacefully but quickly turned into chaos when Richmond Police officers deployed tear gas on a crowd near the Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue.

Video shows that tear has was deployed around 7:30 p.m. — Richmond’s curfew starts at 8 p.m.

Police tweeted that officers were cut off by violent protesters and that the gas was necessary to get them to safety.

But later RPD sent out another tweet saying that the tear gas was unwarranted. According to police, the officers were pulled from the field and will be disciplined.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney tweeted Monday that he wants to apologize to peaceful protesters who were fired at with gas. He said he would apologize at City Hall on Tuesday at noon.

“To the peaceful protesters who were gassed tonight, please come. I want to apologize in person,” the mayor said.

WAVY will carry the press conference live online and on our Facebook page at noon.

The FBI sent out a national release on Monday in hopes of getting people to help them with tips and digital media showing any “violent encounters” during protests across the country.

“Accordingly, we are committed to apprehending and charging violent instigators who are exploiting legitimate, peaceful protests and engaging in violations of federal law. The continued violence, potential threat to life, and destruction of property across the United States interferes with the rights and safety of First Amendment-protected peaceful demonstrators, as well as all other citizens,” the bureau said.

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