Protest in Petersburg in response to teen's viral video

Published: Jun. 16, 2014 at 11:25 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 26, 2014 at 2:47 PM EDT
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PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - Petersburg neighbors took to the streets in protest Monday. They're outraged over the arrest of a 19 year old who claims an officer assaulted him as he filmed a traffic stop with his cell phone. Devin Thomas is set to go to court Wednesday on charges he resisted arrest and for disorderly conduct -- but the teen claims he's the victim here. Now the community is standing by his side.

It all happened outside of the Petersburg Police Department. Neighbors say they assembled because they simply want answers.

"Cops are not above the law," the crowd chanted.

Their chants could be heard from the courthouse to the police department - united with one goal.


"Let them know that they ain't above the law," one protester exclaimed.


Neighbors are rallying in support of 19-year-old Devin Thomas. The teen was arrested last week after he recorded a traffic stop with his cell phone. Thomas claims an officer forced him to the ground and brutally attacked him.


"I'm just traumatized," Thomas said Monday.


He joined neighbors holding signs in protest.


"The young man who was attacked brutally without provocation could easily have been one of my children," said protester Lee Hawkins.


"It ain't just for me. It's a lot of people out here, like people who lost their children. It's for everybody who lost their children and stuff. I want everybody to tell all their stories," Thomas said.


"We want justice. We want accountability. If I were to assault your camera man, you would file charges against me," organizer Nathan Cox said.


The cause found protestors unashamed to speak out over this latest incident that somehow left a teenager bloodied and bruised.


The Petersburg Police Department says it is still investigating the incident that led to the 19 year old's arrest. A spokesperson said as long as protesters abided by the law, the department had no problem with the demonstration. 


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