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Police Chief: Members of Antifa-like group arrested during 'unlawful assembly'

Posted at 8:22 AM, Aug 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-17 13:29:56-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Police say they arrested a dozen "Antifa-like" and subjects after an 'unlawful assembly' was declared in Richmond Sunday night.

Investigators say a group called 381 organized a protest after a sign honoring Marcus David Peters was stolen from Monument Avenue and appeared on social media with a confederate flag draped over it.

Police Chief Gerald Smith says the demonstration was peaceful but suspected Antifa members infiltrated the rally.

"Peaceful protesters are here. And they come out and they actually get their message out. And they adhere to the laws as best as they can," said Smith. "However, there is that element of Antifa or Antifa-like subjects who have to embed themselves into larger peaceful protests in order to do what they in order to cause disruption. Standing by themselves, they don't have high numbers, but that's what they seek to do. And last night, it didn't work."

The group, according to police, were causing damage while walking on West Grace Street just before 11 p.m.

"At approximately 10:55 p.m., officers declared an unlawful assembly when a group walking in the travel lanes of West Grace Street would not comply with officers to disperse and after the individuals in the group were observed damaging property," a Richmond Police spokesperson wrote in an email.

Police say ten people ignored orders to disperse and were arrested. Two people seen damaging buildings and defacing buildings with spray paint were later taken into custody as well.

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Richmond Police say they also seized items like spray paint, a hammer, and flares.

Smith thanked 381 for policing their own protest.

"Like I said before, RPD stands ready to help facilitate the first amendment rights of peaceful protesters. We can do that all day every day," Smith added.

The arrests come after months of unrest in Richmond following the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Joshua Ackerley was charged with unlawful assembly, destruction of property, and obstruction.

Ian Broadhead was charged with unlawful assembly.

Andrew Goepel was charged with destruction of property and obstruction.

Austin Jones was charged with unlawful assembly.

Taylor Kaplan was charged with unlawful assembly.

Valentina Lopez was charged with unlawful assembly.

Erica Margiel was charged with unlawful assembly.

Isaiah Melozzi was charged with rioting.

Jaime Morgan was charged with unlawful assembly.

Inga Schunn was charged with unlawful assembly.

Irena Schunn was charged with unlawful assembly.

Robyn Proffer was charged with unlawful assembly