RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and Police Chief Gerald Smith addressed overnight riots in Richmond during a press conference on Sunday.
Both city officials thanked peaceful protesters and the Black Lives Matter movement and detested violence and arson fires started by some in the crowd.
Stoney said there were reports of white supremacists in the crowds who incited the violence.
“There were white supremacists marching under the banner of Black Lives Matter, an attempt to undermine an otherwise overwhelmingly peaceful movement toward social justice,” Stoney said. “We’ve spoken on many occasions about those who’ve chosen a more violent route to express their discontent and what that does for the overall movement toward social justice.”
Richmond police used chemical agents to disperse a large group of protesters that had made their way from Monroe Park to Richmond Police Headquarters Saturday night.
Police say several hundred people were in a group that was setting fires, breaking windows, vandalizing and blocking traffic throughout the city.
According to police, an unlawful assembly was declared shortly after 11 p.m. when officers were attacked with rocks, batteries and other objects.
Police deployed chemical agents into the crowd and arrested six people throughout the night. Four people were arrested for unlawful assembly, which is a misdemeanor. One man was charged with unlawful assembly and rioting with a firearm, which is a felony. Another man was arrested for assaulting a law enforcement officer, a felony, and rioting.
Richmond Police say a city dump truck was set on fire; it was put out by the Richmond Fire Department around 11:30 p.m. During Sunday’s press conference, RFD Chief Melvin Carter said bricks were thrown at fire crews as they attempted to extinguish the fire. Carter said if the fire reached the fuel tank, it could have caused mass casualties.
There were three fires near the RPD headquarters and several near VCU’s Monroe Park campus.
Virginia State Police was on scene and said it was “on post to protect RPD Headquarters from protesters.”
This is a developing story and will be updated. Stay with NBC 12 for the latest.
Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.