City leaders address Saturday riots

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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Mayor Levar Stoney, Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith, and Richmond Fire Chief Melvin Carter gave a timeline of events, according to investigators, of the riots that unfolded overnight Saturday.

“Last night takes us more steps backwards,” Mayor Stoney said.

Local authorities, including Richmond PD, Richmond Fire, and even Virginia State Police had their hands full dealing with hundreds of rioters that took to the streets, starting at Monroe Park and eventually making their way to police headquarters. Shortly after 11:00 p.m., an Unlawful Assembly was declared.

”These individuals, once they got to the police department, became very aggressive -verbally- towards the officers who where there. That quickly escalated to throwing of bricks, batteries, rocks,” Chief Smith said.

On top that, Richmond Fire says they had to deal with a number of fires set by rioters, including a dump truck outside of Police headquarters on West Grace street.

Chief Smith says the fire was ignited near the engine. perhaps close fuel tanks. He adds, “If that fire was not put out, we could have had a mass casualty incident if those tanks had exploded.”

Smith adds that police did have to turn to chemical munitions to disperse the crowd. Four people were arrested for unlawful assembly; one man was charged with unlawful assembly and rioting with a firearm; the sixth man was arrested for assaulting a law enforcement officer and rioting. Police have currently released the booking photos of four of them:

RPD has currently released the booking photos for four of the men arrested.
RPD has currently released the booking photos for four of the men arrested. (Source: Richmond Police)

Damage also occurred in and around the VCU campus, especially to buildings and businesses on West Grace Street.

In Sunday’s announcement, Mayor Stoney reiterated the fact that potential white supremacists were the leading force behind Saturday’s carnage:

“Their mission is simple:to undermine the month of peace, community-driven protest that this city has seen. It’s not the Richmond we know,” Stoney said, later thanking the Black Lives Matter protesters who “decried” the white supremacists on Saturday night.

Chief Smith added that RPD is looking into an incident in which a man fire rounds from his handgun into the ground during a confrontation with rioters in the Fan District.

They as for anyone with more information or video from the riots to contact them.

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