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Richmond Chief Calls Sunday Night Arrests ‘Proactive’ Response To Threats Of Violence

Police arresting a prone man
Police arrested demonstrators over the weekend, though in some cases the magistrate declined to issue charges. (Photo: Coleman Jennings/VPM)

Richmond police arrested more than 20 people over the weekend during continued protests against police brutality. Some of the charges include trespassing, rioting, and transporting a loaded assault-style rifle in city limits.

Police officials say they anticipated a violent weekend because of flyers circulating on social media that encouraged property destruction. On Saturday, individuals set fire to a dump truck and threw objects at officers outside police headquarters. Police declared an unlawful assembly just after 10 p.m. and arrested six protesters.

Chief Gerald Smith said in a press conference Monday that the city continues to welcome peaceful demonstrations.

“However, we have to take action when we know that violence is coming,” Smith said.

On Sunday, police arrested 17 people who had congregated in Monroe Park, but no unlawful assembly was declared.

Richmond activist Kristopher Goad, who uses the nickname “Goad Gatsby,” said he was detained, but the magistrate declined to issue charges.

He said protesters are getting mixed signals from the city.

“I feel like I’m in an abusive relationship right now. I feel like I wake up in the morning and somebody says that they love me and when I go to bed, I get beat the f*** up,” he said.

Chief Smith said officers had to take a proactive stance Sunday given ongoing threats of violence. 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misspelled Kristopher's name.

Whittney Evans is VPM News’ features editor.
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