Sheriff: 91 COVID-19 cases at the Richmond City Justice Center

Updated: Sep. 2, 2020 at 6:05 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Richmond City Sheriff has confirmed that there is a total of 91 COVID-19 cases at the Richmond City Justice Center.

Dr. Danny Avula, the Director of the Richmond City Health Department, says over the past month testing has ramped up inside the Justice Center.

“We continue to be in close contact with the sheriff and her team; throughout August they were very aggressive in testing inmates and staff, testing 1,200 individuals,” said Dr. Avula.

Wednesday afternoon, the jail had 91 cases; Dr. Avula says the Sheriff’s Office is working to keep those inmates separate, as well as others who may be sick.

“They also have a category of individuals who are either potentially exposed or are showing symptoms; they have been cohort in a separate cell block, a separate pod, while we await test results and then continue to monitor the symptoms there,” Avula said.

As they monitored inside, protesters gathered Tuesday night outside the jail.

The Richmond Police Department says they were called to the jail by the Sheriff’s Office. That’s when officers say they noticed parking violations outside of the jail.

When tow trucks arrived, Richmond police say a man refused to let them pass. He was apparently asked to move multiple times and when officers tried to get near him, he rode off on his bicycle. Another officer, in an unmarked car, got out and tackled him to the ground.

“He’s eluding, right? He’s trying to avoid capture. Okay, so at some point, the officer has to stop him. In order to engage him. In order to arrest him. And so as long as he’s trying to elude, the officer used the only option he had to stop him while he was on the bicycle,” said Deputy Chief Sydney Collier.

Several other protesters then tried to intervene. In the end, 11 people, including the bicyclist, were arrested.

NBC12 did ask for bodycam footage and was told that it is typically not released.

Protesters were scheduled to hold a press conference Wednesday afternoon, but that was canceled.

The Richmond Virginia Branch NAACP said it will be meeting with the Richmond Sheriff this week in regards to the COVID-19 concerns.

Avula did say there are rumors circulating on social media that an inmate died at the jail, and says he was told by the sheriff that is not true.

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