6 arrested after Richmond police declare ‘unlawful assembly’ near J.E.B Stuart statue

Protesters say Richmond police used tear gas to disperse ‘unlawful assembly’ near J.E.B Stuart statue

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Six people were arrested during protests near the J.E.B. Stuart statue in Richmond.

A standoff between police and protesters continued into the early morning hours Monday even after police declared an “unlawful assembly” around 9:30 p.m. Sunday. Protesters say Richmond police deployed tear gas during the protest.

Police say the unlawful assembly was declared because protesters attempted to pull down the J.E.B Stuart statue with rope, which could have caused serious injuries.

An unlawful assembly is when “three or more people assembled who share the common intent to advance some lawful or unlawful purpose by the commission of an act or acts of unlawful force or violence likely to jeopardize seriously public safety, peace or order.”

Police said they arrested the following people and took them to the Justice Center for processing and then they were released:

  • Paul E. Behrends, II, 23, Richmond – photo not yet available
  • William G. Keller, 23, Richmond
  • Robert W. Wood, 20, Henrico – photo not yet available
  • Summer A. Orcutt, 30, Richmond
  • Thomas J. Feeney, 25, Richmond
  • Anna C. Posner, 21, Lorton
Summer A. Orcutt, William G. Keller, Anna C. Posner and Thomas J. Feeney
Summer A. Orcutt, William G. Keller, Anna C. Posner and Thomas J. Feeney (Source: Richmond Police)

Police said Posner was re-arrested after she returned to the statue and was charged with another related offense.

Following the declaration, there were reports of protesters and a student journalist being hit by tear gas while police attempted to break up the crowd - the first time chemical agents have been used since Interim Police Chief Jody Blackwell took over. Some witnesses also reported rubber bullets being used at one point.

State police say water bottles were first thrown at officers who were in riot gear. RPD said one officer was injured when he was hit in the arm by a brick that was thrown. He was treated at the scene.

Two city councilmembers - Stephanie Lynch and Mike Jones - have called for the “immediate” removal of all the city’s Confederate statues for safety among other reasons.

Councilman Mike Jones was at the protest last night and ran into one of the protesters who had been tear-gassed previously with him. He wrote about the interactions on Twitter. Read the thread here:

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