Richmond police chief says ‘unlawful assembly’ embedded with ‘Antifa-like people’

Updated: Aug. 17, 2020 at 11:15 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith addressed an “unlawful assembly” declared on Sunday night, saying peaceful protesters were embedded by “Antifa-like people.”

Smith said the protest was sparked by the removal of a sign unofficially renaming the area around the Robert E. Lee statue to “Marcus-David Peters Circle.” After being removed before daylight on Sunday, the sign reappeared on social media with a Confederate flag draped over it. The signed honored Marcus-David Peters, a Black man and VCU alum who was killed by police during a mental episode.

Smith said there were two groups in the city Sunday night -- one led by the 381 Movement and another led by “Antifa-like people.”

According to Smith, the 381 Movement marched from the sidewalk and effectively followed police orders.

“We believe that 381 did the best they could to keep the Antifa element away from their protest,” Smith said.

After 381 Movement’s march ended, police interacted with people who remained in the area.

Richmond police arrested twelve people during the “unlawful assembly,” which police say the declared just before 11 p.m. when a group of people walking in West Grace Street refused to leave the area. Police say instead of dispersing, the group started to damage property.

According to police, the group damaged fencing and defaced buildings and signage with paint. During the arrests, officers seized several items, including spray paint, a hammer, a smoke device, flares and other incendiary devices

Twelve people were arrested in total:

  • Ackerley, Joshua was charged with unlawful assembly, destruction of property and obstruction
  • Broadhead, Ian was charged with unlawful assembly
  • Goepel, Andrew was charged with destruction of property and obstruction
  • Jones, Austin was charged with unlawful assembly
  • Kaplan, Taylor was charged with unlawful assembly
  • Lopez, Valentina was charged with unlawful assembly
  • Margiel, Erica was charged with unlawful assembly
  • Melozzi, Isaiah was charged with rioting
  • Morgan, Jaime was charged with unlawful assembly
  • Proffer, Robyn was charged with unlawful assembly
  • Schunn, Inga was charged with unlawful assembly
  • Schunn, Irena was charged with unlawful assembly
According to police, the group of people arrested damaged fencing and defaced buildings and...
According to police, the group of people arrested damaged fencing and defaced buildings and signage with paint.(Richmond Police Department)

Anyone with additional information should contact police or Crime Stoppers.

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