Richmond unrest curfew-only violators say their charges aren’t being dropped

Richmond unrest curfew-only violators say their charges aren’t being dropped

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Those swept up in curfew-only violations during unrest in Richmond are concerned about the mixed messages they’re now getting from those in charge.

Mayor Levar Stoney has called for those charges to be dropped, but the court proceedings are still moving forward.

NBC12 spoke to two people with curfew-only violations. One did not want their identity disclosed.

"I was very scared because they pinned us down, surrounded us with guns," said the man.

It was a Sunday night in the early days of the unrest in Richmond. The mayor had declared a curfew earlier that day, but Niko Carter and his friend didn’t know. Neither lives in the city.

“I showed them my phone and showed them that we was really, I had my Google maps out and we was really going home and they were like ‘we don’t care.' Like curfew that they’re taking us to jail point blank, period,” said Chesterfield County resident Niko Carter.

The two say they dropped off Carter’s girlfriend, watched some of what was unfolding, and tried to leave in their car. But that’s when the pair says police stopped them, apparently thinking they were someone else, pulled them out of the car and arrested them.

“They was like aggressive. They still threw us on the ground. You know, guns in our face. Knees in our back and such,” said Carter.

Defense Attorney Mackenzie Clements is part of “RVA Legal Collaborative.” That’s a group of lawyers representing those arrested for free.

"It is very confusing that the mayor has come out and publicly said that he wants all of these curfew violations to be dismissed," said Clements.

The final decision comes from Richmond’s Commonwealth’s Attorney, not the mayor. Colette McEachin said she stands by her previous statements indicating those with only curfew violations won’t face any jail time. But there’s still a potential fine of up to 2,500.

"They're arriving with the expectation that the charge is going to be dismissed and we're not there yet," said Clements.

Now those pro bono attorneys are trying to find all those charged to help them, but with staggering court dates here, it’s been a challenge.

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