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Mayor Levar Stoney joins demonstrators in Richmond

Posted at 8:57 PM, Jun 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-02 23:31:07-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney joined racial justice demonstrators Tuesday, hours after an angry crowd shouted him down as he apologized for police lobbing tear gas at a group of peaceful demonstrators.

Video coverage showed Stoney wearing a dark blue mask with red and white figures on it as he walked with protesters to the Robert E Lee statue on Monument Avenue.

“The folks I'm walking with today are peaceful protesters,” said the mayor. “They’ve had their messaged at times hijacked by those who want to do wrong and obviously that is unacceptable and they’re willing to hold them accountable and we’re willing to hold our people accountable and that's what this is all about.”

Before the march, several hundred people gathered outside City Hall, chanted “Fire them!” and repeatedly drowned out Stoney as he apologized and promised that the officers involved will face disciplinary action.

Video posted to social media of the Monday night incident showed a line of police launching tear gas toward a group of protesters, who appeared to be yards away from the officers and peacefully gathered on the grass near the statue.

“Every peaceful protester, should be allowed to peacefully protest. That’s the bottom line. That is your right, and we violated that yesterday," Stoney said.

Tuesday was the fifth consecutive day of protests in Central Virginia.

“What you’re hearing from everyone not just here in Richmond, but what everywhere, is that they want to see change and what we`re doing as elected officials, as our government and we can do that but it has to be done together,” said the mayor.

Protesters say they hope their message will be heard and solutions will come soon.

“It’s love against hate. That’s what it is, it`s love against hate,” said one protester.