Virginia’s governor, Richmond mayor monitoring potential for unrest and protests

Virginia’s governor, Richmond mayor monitoring potential for unrest and protests
Large security fencing remains around Virginia’s State Capitol. (FILE)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia’s governor and Richmond’s mayor are watching and waiting for any potential unrest.

Large security fencing remains around Virginia’s State Capitol. It’s a telling sign that the commonwealth and city are planning for the worse, but hopefully it won’t be needed.

“As far as the City of Richmond, the mayor and I are working very closely together. We’ve been through this before. We have made the necessary preparations to look at if and when that verdict comes out,” Gov. Ralph Northam said.

Over the last two weeks, city leaders have been planning for potential unrest following a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.

The death of George Floyd last year sparked a summer of protests in and around Richmond. Businesses along Broad Street in downtown also remain boarded up the week of April 19, some from almost a year ago when those protests first broke out.

“We are prayful that the verdict will come back the right way, that justice will be served, but we have to plan for as if an emergency could happen. We’ll be prepared,” Mayor Levar Stoney said.

Virginia State Police tells NBC12 its officers won’t get involved in any local protests until it is asked for help by local police on the ground.

Meanwhile, Northam says the Virginia National Guard is on standby, as always, but has not been activated or requested ahead of the verdict.

“But we expect Richmond will be peaceful and the commonwealth to be peaceful but we are always prepared for whatever would occur,” the governor said.

The Richmond Police Department released the following statement to NBC12. The Richmond Police Department is dedicated to ensuring public safety before, during, and after demonstrations. We ask those who wish to demonstrate to do so safely and in a conscientious manner that respects the rights of all.

The Department works to facilitate the safe exercise of constitutional rights of free speech and assembly while protecting persons and property.

“As members of this community, we are all ultimately responsible for providing a safe environment for each other. Help us send a message of the shared value of peaceful gatherings. If you see something, say something. Report any suspicious or dangerous activity immediately by calling the non-emergency line at (804) 646-5100 or 911 for emergencies.”

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