‘I will be there’: Injured RPD officer not letting protests deter him from helping community

Updated: Jun. 19, 2020 at 8:16 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - With tension decreasing in downtown Richmond, an injured officer is sharing his story. He wants citizens to know what it’s like out there each night, how he got injured and why it’s not deterring him from bringing peace to the community.

Sunday night downtown Richmond, police were attempting to hold the line as hundreds protested in front of RPD headquarters.

“Being on the front line is very intimidating. It is,” said RPD Officer Duane Peppel, whos is a former Marine.

Peppel was one of a handful of officers on West Grace Street that night and says police were outnumbered 10 to one.

“You have people yelling obscenities at you, shooting lasers into your eyes, hitting you with high-performance flashlights, LED lights that just blind you. You can’t see anything,” Peppel said.

Peppel was hit with a bottle, he thought it was water but later find out it wasn’t. He was left with burn marks on his face and body.

Virginia State Police also released the body cam video of one of its officers being hit with asphalt. The Trooper suffered a leg injury.

Despite heightened emotions, the men and women in blue still want to help.

“We feel you. We hear you. We don’t want to do any of this,” Peppel said.

For Peppel, giving back to his community is his motto. He even took to Facebook with an - at times frustrated - post about that Sunday night, saying he will continue to defend the weak and the helpless.

“I mean that. I will be there each and every citizen, even the person who threw the bottle at me with caustic chemicals, I will be there for you no matter what,” Peppel said.

The Peppel says now is the time for a constructive conversation between activists and police.

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