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Councilwoman condemns police 'unsettling response' to protest at her home

Posted at 6:00 PM, Jul 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-17 18:13:27-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond City Councilwoman Kim Gray says she's upset with the lack of police response when a large group of protesters showed up outside her Jackson Ward home Wednesday night.

"Not one person charged, no citations, nothing. I mean what has it come to?" asked Gray Friday.

Gray says she's been in the cross hairs of protesters for weeks.

"Recognizing and understanding that I'm a single Black person, a single mom with Black children in my home... showing up in a violent way at my home, is not a way to protest violence against Black people. You're doing the exact thing that you say you need to fight against," said Gray.

She says she heard protesters say "Let's burn it down" and others were open carrying assault rifles. She says the incident has rattled her Jackson Ward community to the core.

Gray said she called police, but officers never arrived.

"When we as citizens call for help... we need to see a presence and there needs to be consequences," said Gray.

Gray wants consequences for clogging the street and hurling violent speech at her family.

CBS 6 legal expert Todd Stone says there are various charges that could apply to the gathering in front of Gray's house Wednesday night.

One examples include the flow of traffic.

Gray also pointed out, Commonwealth's Attorney Colette McEachin had a similar protest at her home where 15 were arrested on charges like trespassing and littering.

Gray maintains she never saw a uniformed officer.

In a statement, Richmond Police said that they were aware of the gathering and closely monitored any actions that would've threatened public safety.

Gray says watching and waiting isn't enough.

"That's an unsettling response to say we are going to allow laws to be broken and your family to be put in potential jeopardy because we don't want to have another negative interaction with the crowd," said Gray.

CBS 6 crime expert Steve Neal says this kind of policing dilemma is now a nationwide issue.

"It's what's going on everywhere in the country right now," said Neal. "One person has just as much right to be protected as another. So, law enforcement has to make some decisions and it seems in some cases, politics are being used as the deciding point rather than what might be best for community safety or the individual's safety."