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UPDATE: Seventh Night of Demonstrations in Richmond

Protestors outside of Richmond Police Department's 4th Precinct
SLIDESHOW: Around 500 protesters marched to Richmond Police Department's 4th Precinct Thursday night. Officers lined one of the entrances, with a members of the Virginia National Guard. (Photo: Whittney Evans / VPM News)

We've signed off for the night, but will have more coverage tomorrow - thanks for staying with us.

Update 10:05 p.m. Thursday - After leaving Northside, protesters take a break at Monroe Park and listen to speakers. The past few days and nights have been hot in Richmond, reaching more than 90 degrees.

One speaker took the microphone saying all of them [protesters] need to act united, and not let heated tempers get in the way of why they're all there. 

"Because we have to hold each other accountable.  If someone is holding you back - you don't f---ing fight them. They're holding you back because they believe it is in your best interest," he said. 

Update 8:42 p.m. Thursday - Anger, frustration and tears fill protesters that directly confront officers. Some relay their personal stories of negative experiences with law enforcement. Others are asking officers what are they doing to dismantle racist systems. VPM's Whittney Evans is on the ground. She says most of the officers are not responding. One said, “I don’t have an answer for you right now.”

Update 7:55 p.m. Thursday - Crowd reaching around 500 people makes it to Richmond Police Department's Fourth Precinct in Northside. Group chants: "We don’t see no riot here. Why are you in riot gear!” Officers are seen by the entrances. 

Update 7:37 p.m. Thursday - The group was lead in a chant before marching across the city. 

Michaela Hatton, a community organizer, spoke with VPM's Whittney Evans. She's been helping coordinate groups going to the protests every night since they began last week. The crowds, Hatton says, have gotten larger over that time. And described the progress the city has made as “a step.” 

“But we’re not satisfied and we’re going to stay out here until we get everything that we want,” Hatton said.  

Other things she, and other community activists, say they want the city to do include dropping charges against protesters, to fire the cops that were violent against people peacefully demonstrating, and to reduce the amount of money going to the city’s police department.

 

Update 6:57 p.m. Thursday - Clergy and supporters moved over to Monroe Park to march in solidarity with another group. A law enforcement official told VPM that they estimate around 350 people are there. 

On the seventh night of demonstrations in response to the death of George Floyd, a group of clergy organized a gathering a few blocks away from the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond. 

Vernon Gordon, a pastors at Life Church RVA in Richmond’s Southside, described to the group incidents of racism he has experienced everyday, from interactions with law enforcement to parishioners. 

“I stand before you today as a black man who has bad members of his church tell him you cannot be my pastor because of the color of your skin…. I stand before you today as a black man to declaring this: I am still standing in the middle of this circle because I do not believe that they do not represent our gospel,” Gordon explained.  

A hundred or so people were also seen this afternoon at the Lee statue, hours after Gov. Ralph Northam called for the monument to the Confederate general to come down

The peaceful event was led by a new group calling itself the 381 Movement. Organizer Antoine Taylor says they’re inspired by the 381-day-long Montgomery, Alabama bus boycotts of the 1950s.

“There’s a huge agenda. Of course, the community wants more reform. They want the allocation of the tax dollars to be changed...Not just of course bringing down the monuments that represent oppression and racism,” Taylor said. 

The group has organized peaceful protests using Instagram. They’re prioritizing more funding for education and less for the police department.

Another protest is set to begin at 6 P.M. at Monroe Park.

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