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Eviction demonstrators arrested, pepper-sprayed; courthouse windows broken

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Posted at 12:18 AM, Jul 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-02 15:28:43-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Windows were broken and people were pepper-sprayed by Richmond Sheriff's deputies during a demonstration at the John Marshall Courthouse to protest evictions during COVID-19.

Police say that two arrests were made during Wednesday's protest and at least one window was shattered. It is not yet clear if the arrests were linked to the vandalism.

The sheriff's department said they are reviewing the incident and the actions of the officers.

The protest was spurred by a lift on an eviction freeze due to COVID-19, leaving thousands of Virginians at risk of eviction.

Marty Wegbreit of the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society said that 500 people are now at risk of homelessness in Richmond.

"There’s going to be 324 eviction lawsuits heard in the city of Richmond. That’s an exact count. We’re talking about, over 500 people suddenly homeless, either doubling or tripling up with family and friends or overcrowding our homeless shelters or out on the street," Wegbreit said. "We don’t want to unnecessarily, unfairly penalize people for something that’s beyond their control. That’s not their fault that they can’t pay rent. No one asked for COVID-19.”

Click here for how to get help if you are facing eviction.