Richmond Police chief addresses riot arrests, police clashes with the media

Posted at 1:29 PM, Jul 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-27 19:08:33-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith addressed the media Monday afternoon after a weekend of demonstrations and riots in the city.

Smith announced 17 arrests were made and three summons were issued Sunday night. The charges include trespassing, pedestrian in roadway, falsifying ID to the police to avoid arrest, riot with a dangerous weapon, transporting loaded rifle in the city limits, and rioting.

The chief said those arrested indicated they were from Richmond, Henrico County, Falls Church, Charlottesville, Herndon, Fredericksburg, Williamsburg, and Mechanicsville.

· Emily Anderson, 21, Williamsburg - Rioting
· Mekdas Charles, 21, Falls Church – Trespassing
· Madeleine Conger, 30, Charlottesville – Trespassing
· Elsi Del Pino, 25, Richmond – Trespassing
· Robert Fleece, 36, Henrico – Transporting a Loaded Rifle within City Limits, Possessing a Weapon with an Extended Magazine
· Jack Glass, 24, Richmond – Rioting with a Weapon (Felony)
· Markeith Jackson, 25, Richmond – Transporting a Loaded Rifle within City Limits
· Ronald Johnson, 33, Henrico – Transporting a Loaded Rifle within City Limits
· Lila-Jad Koumtakoun, 22, Richmond – Pedestrian in the Roadway, False ID to Police to Avoid Arrest
· Taylor Maloney, 20, Richmond – Trespassing
· Robin Proffer, 26, Henrico - Trespassing
· Travis Pulley, 45, Richmond – Riot with a Weapon (Felony)
· Mitchell Shue, 26, Herndon – Trespassing
· Dexter Superville, 21, Richmond – Rioting, Possession with Intent to Deliver Crack Cocaine
· Justin Tenney, 27, Richmond – Block Traffic, No Seatbelt, Driver’s License Not in Possession
· Two Juveniles – not identified

Smith said the department knew another violent night of riots were coming due to a flyer similar to once promoting a Saturday night demonstration, where dozens of business and VCU reported more than $100,000 worth of damage.

The demonstration had been billed by some as support for protesters in Portland, Oregon.

"We have to take action when we know that violence is coming," said Smith. "What we did last night, we took a proactive stance, and when the group gathered in Monroe Park and congregated there after 10 p.m., RPD moved in and began to affect arrest."

Josh Rueger found a window smashed at his The Village Cafe on West Grace Street Sunday morning.

"Our window was smashed out when it first started six or eight weeks ago," he explained. "I don’t know who would want to do that to their own city."

Rueger hoped police would find the individuals responsible for the destruction.

"I hope they follow through with it and try to get the people out there doing it. I’m sure there has to be camera footage," Rueger stated.

He estimated that he's lost hundreds of thousands of dollars due to the pandemic. Since it started, his restaurant is making 20 percent of what his sales typically are recorded.

"We were just kind shocked on top of the virus to deal with this, as well," Rueger said.

Smith said Monroe Park is "clearly" closed at dusk, thus the demonstrators were trespassing.

"There are several signs conspicuously posted through out the park, that state that the park is closed," he added.

Smith said Sunday night’s damage included three fires as well as a smashed window at the VCU Police Department headquarters.

The chief also addressed why some journalists were briefly detained over the weekend.

Andrew Ringle, Executive editor of the Commonwealth Time, independent student newspaper at VCU, says he was briefly detained while in Monroe Park Sunday night. Ringle says he was released on the grounds that he does not return to the park last night.

"In intense situations like this, we also have to look at the bigger picture. We have to look at individuals who claim to be members of the press and we have to look at them very carefully," said Smith. "And during this time, the press is more than welcome to come out and report the story to be a partner, not just a partner with the police department but a partner with the public because the public has a right to know. However, in these situations, we have to check out everybody."

Smith says those who claim to be a member of the media, must abide by the same laws as everyone else.

"If you are in a location that you're not supposed to be in, you can be held accountable for that as well," he added.

Smith says he will work on the partnership with the media to make sure everyone is on the same page with the same rules.

"We need to be looking for the best practices across the country in order to see how we can better effect this partnership that we have," Smith added. "Our goal is that not only are the officers safe, the citizens are safe in Richmond, but also the media as they report out on stories."

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