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Mayor Stoney wants charges dropped for protesters arrested for curfew violation

Updated: Jun. 5, 2020 at 5:54 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Following a week of protests against police brutality, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney wants charges dropped for protesters who violated curfew.

Stoney issued a curfew for the city on Sunday morning that expired on Wednesday, June 3 in response to the protests.

“What could have been peaceful protests, turned into violent destruction," said Mayor Stoney at the time. “We are all disappointed, and we feel the pain that is being felt throughout this country for the last few nights."

George Floyd, a black man, died on May 25 in Minneapolis after a white police officer pressed a knee into his neck. It was the latest in a series of deaths of black men and women at the hands of police in America and led to protests across the country.

Some of those protests - including in Richmond - left businesses damaged and looted. But Mayor Stoney wants to make it clear that peaceful protesters should not be punished for those actions.

“Those individuals who were peacefully protesting and were arrested because of a curfew violation solely. They should have their charges dropped,” Mayor Stoney said.

In a tweet Friday morning, Stoney said he’s spoked with Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin and made it clear that he’d like to see charges dropped for people who were arrested for violating curfew.

An 8 p.m. curfew was in effect for three nights after violent protests last weekend, and around 250 demonstrators were arrested for violating it.

Stoney began thinking of amnesty when Richmond police deployed tear gas on protesters Monday, 30 minutes before the curfew took effect.

“When I stepped outside of City Hall to apologize to some of the peaceful protesters at City Hall, I felt the hurt and pain of those peaceful protesters,” Stoney said.

There are demonstrations planned for this weekend.

“As demonstrations continue to be scheduled throughout the weekend, I encourage those to continue to protest peacefully,” Stoney said.

NBC12 reached out to McEachin who says she is considering Stoney’s request. A statement will be released when a decision is made.

“Please do not hurt the very community you are working to uplift, and please do not allow others to do so as well,” Stoney said.

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