RICHMOND, Va. – Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney has invited protestors to City Hall Tuesday to listen to their concerns. The mayor and Richmond Police have apologized to protestors after officers fired tear gas into a crowd of peaceful protestors Monday, before curfew, at the Robert E. Lee monument on Monument Avenue.
“Words cannot make this right, and words cannot restore the trust broken this evening,” the mayor tweeted Monday. “Only action. Only action will repair this community. Come to City Hall tomorrow at noon. I want to say sorry. I want to listen.”
Tear gas was launched into the crowd pf peaceful protestors at about 7:30 p.m. Monday. Later Richmond Police officers were seen spraying tear gas on protestors around the monument.
Following the incident, Richmond Police issued a statement that apologized to the peaceful protestors and explained a group of violent protestors had “cut off” an area where Richmond Police Officers were located.
“The gas was necessary to get them to safety,” Richmond Police tweeted.
Protestors have reached out to CBS 6 disputing that claim.
“Unprovoked and without warning, Richmond police threw tear gas at us, rushed the crowd, and started spraying people directly in their faces,” Catherine Poarch wrote in an email to CBS 6 News. “I am so angry and sad that an amazing peaceful protest had to end in such violence.”
Richmond Police later announced officers were being removed from duty and disciplined after Police Chief William Smith reviewed video of the incident.
“Chief Smith just reviewed video of gas being deployed by RPD officers near the Lee Monument and apologizes for this unwarranted action. These officers have been pulled from the field. They will be disciplined because their actions were outside dept protocols and directions given,” Richmond Police wrote in a tweet. “To our peaceful protestors: We stand with you today and will keep supporting your rights to express your opinions in safety.”
This is a developing story.