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Grand Jury considers 18 sealed indictments related to Richmond Police actions during unrest

Posted at 3:38 PM, Oct 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-05 18:22:57-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A Richmond Grand Jury received 18 sealed indictments related to actions the Richmond Police Department took during weeks of unrest in Richmond over the late Spring and Summer months, Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Colette McEachin announced in an email Monday.

It is also not yet known if the Grand Jury chose to indict any Richmond Police officer.

Due to the sealed nature of the indictments, specific officer actions and potential charges were not made public.

"Virginia law requires secrecy in Grand Jury proceedings and there is no recording or transcript of the proceedings," McEachin wrote. "Further information will be forthcoming at the appropriate time under the law."

A request for information was sent to the Richmond Police Department. This story will be updated once a response is received.

Richmond Police clashed with protesters and rioters during weeks of unrest in Richmond following the May death of George Floyd by the hand of a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Hundreds of protesters and rioters have been arrested and charged with various crimes from trespassing and vandalism to assault on law enforcement and rioting.

Some protesters accused Richmond Police of violence and unnecessary use of tear gas and other chemical irritants.

In July, McEachin released her office's findings into five specific complaints filed against the Richmond Police Department. In all five cases, which involved incidents seen by thousands on social media, McEachin's office determined no officer committed a crime.

"This is not a complete list of all of the allegations that our Office is still reviewing and I will announce my findings when those investigations are concluded," she wrote in a July email.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney asked for then Richmond Police Chief William Smith's resignation in mid-June based, in part, on the way Richmond Police interacted with protesters on a near-nightly basis. Chief Gerald Smith was hired in late June and came to Richmond promising to guide Richmond Police back toward the philosophy of “community policing,” which he thinks the department has slowly veered away from over the years.

This is a developing story.