Two Richmond police officers charged with assault for actions during city’s civil unrest

Two Richmond police officers charged with assault for actions during city’s civil unrest
The protests in Richmond began in May after the police officer killing of George Floyd in Minnesota and lasted for weeks. (Source: NBC12/Eric Everington)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Two Richmond police officers will now be charged for actions during the city’s unrest this summer after 18 sealed indictments were handed to a grand jury Monday, according to a statement from Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin.

Sixteen of the indictments were returned as “not a true bill,” but two others will move forward.

Court documents show the officers are charged with assault and battery for an alleged incident on May 31st, 2020.

RPD Detective Mark Janowski charged with assault and battery
RPD Detective Mark Janowski charged with assault and battery (Source: NBC 12)

“The law considers the jury to be ‘the conscience of the community,’” said McEachin in a statement. “Citizens and law enforcement brought specific incidents to the attention of our office and, following further investigation, we presented indictments to the grand jury in their capacity as sworn representatives of the Richmond community.”

RPD Detective Christopher Brown charged with assault and battery
RPD Detective Christopher Brown charged with assault and battery (Source: NBC 12)

According to McEachin’s office, Officer Christopher Brown and Officer Mark Janowski will both face misdemeanor charges of assault and battery. According to RPD, Brown, a detective, has been with the Department since 2015; Janowski, also a detective, has been with the Department since 2014

“These events are unfortunate,” said Chief Gerald Smith. “However, we must allow the legal process to work. The officers will be placed on administrative assignment until a verdict is reached.”

The protests began in May after the police officer killing of George Floyd in Minnesota and lasted for weeks. In the first few days, Mayor Stoney issued a curfew as the protests turned violent and clashes between protesters and police began.

In July, the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office cleared the Richmond Police Department of five complaints related to the civil unrest. To read the full report, click here.

NBC12 has reached out to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office for more information on the new indictments.

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