Tear gas used against protesters outside Richmond police headquarters second night in a row

Two demonstrators kneel in front of dozens of police officers on Madison Street Richmond.
Two demonstrators kneel in front of dozens of police officers on Madison Street Richmond.(Hannah Eason - The Commonwealth Times)
Updated: Jun. 16, 2020 at 11:17 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - There was another night of violence outside of Richmond Police headquarters Monday night after officers deployed what appeared to be tear gas and possibly rubber bullets onto a crowd that gathered outside.

It happened around 10:15 p.m. as protesters continued to demand the defunding of police.

“We’re asking that the officers be held accountable who are involved in these acts of aggression,” one protester said.

Officers could be seen in riot gear, initially showing restraint.

One person in the crowd attempted to cross police crime tape that was in place to serve as a barrier between officers and the crowd.

“I expect my officers to remain patient and professional during this trying time and will hold accountable those who do not uphold this standard. But demonstrators must practice non-violence, and under no circumstance will I allow the violent protests to continue to harm our community,” RPD Chief Will Smith said in a statement Monday evening before the altercation a few hours later.

Police later cleared out the parking lot and had protestors move down the block.

Officers sent a message over their intercoms numerous times throughout the night, saying "The Richmond Police Department has deemed this to be an unlawful assembly, please disperse. Failure to disperse will result in arrest and/or the use of chemical agents.”

The person who shot the video of protesters being tear gassed said they did not hear the message before officers sent the canisters.

Councilman Mike Jones and Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch joined protesters at one point Monday night. Afterward, Councilman Jones simply tweeted “Can’t believe what I saw this evening.”

NBC12 is awaiting word from Richmond police on what led to escalation and why they demanded the crowd disperse.

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