Police working with Richmond protestors

Police working with Richmond protestors

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - As protestors hit the streets, Richmond Police responded.

The picture in the city was very different from what went down in Ferguson, MO, because here the situation was peaceful despite Monday night's protestors having no permit and giving police no warning they would be marching.

Here in Richmond, there were no fires started, no police cars destroyed and no protestors hurt.

"This is what democracy looks like," they called out.

"I wanted to have my voice heard," one VCU student who marched said.

According to Richmond Police Major Steve Drew, that is why his officers came out to meet protestors who marched from VCU through Monroe Park and all the way to Police headquarters.

"They have the right to express their opinion and we're going to help facilitate that," he said.

What started as just a few people grew and grew into more than a hundred.

"We're just going to respect the right to protest," Drew added. "This group has been very, very cooperative. They've been on the sidewalk and kept moving and that's really, as long as they don't impact the citizens as they're coming through, people going home or going to work or whatever, it's been no issue."

It was a different scene than what played out in Ferguson and in many other cities across the country.

"The difference there is the fact that we have a voice and we know we have a voice and that voice is encouraged by our city leaders," community organizer Charles Willis said. "They encourage us to come out but they encourage us to come out peacefully and they teach us how to do that."

Some of that teaching is done through a unique partnership with leaders of faith organizations throughout the city. In a way, RPD has created community liaisons

"We're called to do what we do as faith leaders," Pastor Larry Miles said. "We don't interfere with their job. They don't interfere with ours. So we partner and merge."

Miles believes there's more work to be done.

"We're doing it, but it can increase, it can expand and it definitely needs to include more," he added.

For the protest Tuesday evening, Richmond Police were given a head's up and planned for the demonstration.

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