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Windows shattered, fires set during second night of riots in Richmond

Mayor: 'What I saw in those images is not the city that I know'
Posted at 7:07 PM, May 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-31 02:15:13-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Hundreds of protesters marched down Broad Street in Richmond for a second night to protest George Floyd's death and displays of police brutality towards African Americans across the country.

That protest, which started peacefully, once again turned destructive when windows were smashed at a bank and stores, dumpsters and trash cans were set on fire and Confederate statues on Monument Avenue, along with buildings and other objects, were tagged with spray paint.

"We are long broad there are a few businesses that have had their windows crashed out and broken," reporter Cameron Thompson said. "But there actually have been some people who've been telling the protesters to stop smashing the windows. A woman was chastising some people telling them these are black-owned businesses and they're doing more damage by going after the businesses that were right here."

Rioters shattered windows and damaged an ATM machine at the Wells Fargo bank at 2nd and Grace streets.

"This Wells Fargo has been completely busted out of all its windows. It's been sprayed with graffiti," reporter Matthew Fultz said. "Many people have been walking by taking pictures and also down the street to our right you can see a dumpster that set on fire.

Police used tear gas to disperse a crowd around 11 p.m. as a second night of protests left windows shattered at some businesses along Broad Street in downtown Richmond.

"We've seen on the stretch of Broad Street here several businesses that have windows broken out, Crime Insider Jon Burkett said. "The art gallery actually had either the owner or a worker inside guarding his business down there. And on the way here, we saw a knife -- a kitchen knife -- in the middle of the street."

Burkett said it appeared Richmond Police were caught off guard by Friday's protest, so officials beefed up for Saturday night anticipating more unrest.

The crowd was later spotted moving back down Broad Street to VCU's campus and eventually to the Robert E. Lee and J.E.B. Stuart statues on Monument Avenue.

Protester: Love is 'only thing that is going to cure this'

One man who said he came out to protest for the first held a sign that read: "stop shooting us."

"This is my first time and it means a lot just being a young man out in this world," the 23-year-old said. "It's very important to be a young black male out here. It started with slavery all the way til now. No justice, no peace."

Another demonstrator said he had been calling for change by turning out for the past three nights.

"It never has to be violence. Come down here and help us channel this anger. We need a voice. Stand with us. Do not stand against us and try to police us during a peaceful protest," he said. "I love you. And I want you to love me back, regardless if I'm black, white, straight, gay -- it doesn't matter. We need to share love. And that's it. That's the only thing that is going to cure this."

The crowd was moving south from Broad and Belvedere as of just after 9 p.m., reporter Cam Thompson said.

"One person is lugging a case of water bottles around encouraging people to stay hydrated," Thompson noted.

Numerous units were dispatched to North Belvidere and West Broad streets for disorderly calls just before 6 p.m., according to emergency communications logs.

Follow Cam Thompson's updates on Twitter

WTVR CBS 6 is monitoring this event, while keeping our distance afar to protect our news crews. There has been a great deal of violence against journalists over the last 48 hours and we want to keep you informed, but will put the safety of our employees first. In fact, we have multiple security guards with our crews to help avoid danger, rather than go into it.

Mayor: 'Two wrongs don't make a right'

Mayor Levar Stoney said Richmond Police are prepared for additional protests this weekend after hundreds marched and rioted in the city Friday.

Police are asking for help identifying those responsible for "setting fires, damaging property, or assaulting individuals" after a peaceful protest that started in Monroe Park on Friday night ended with a GRTC bus being lit on fire.

Stoney said the destruction of property was unacceptable.

"What I saw in those images is not the city that I know," Stoney said. "But also I take a step back and recognize that there's a lot of built up pain in there -- but that's not the way that you treat your city. Like I said, two wrongs don't make a right."

City crews were spotted boarding up all of the windows at Richmond's police headquarters on Grace Street after several windows were broken.

Officials said one officer suffered a minor injury. No other injuries were reported and no arrests were made, according to police.

"Richmond police are currently assessing damage and contacting property owners," police said.

Officials urged anyone who has information about the people responsible for the damage to call Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000.

Richmond protest of George Floyd's death turns violent

Demonstrators in Richmond gathered by the hundreds and marched from Monroe Park on VCU's campus down W. Franklin St. and Broad St. to City Hall downtown, holding signs and chanting "No Justice No Peace" and "Black Lives Matter."

On May 25, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was seen on camera kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a handcuffed African American man who had been arrested and handcuffed. Floyd died in police custody after Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nearly 9 minutes while Floyd repeatedly said "I can't breathe."

On Friday, Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

In Richmond, the group eventually culminated outside of the Richmond Police Headquarters on W. Grace St. where the protest began to escalate towards displays of violence.

Around 11 p.m. Friday night, a dumpster and a police cruiser had been set on fire and windows had been broken at the Police Headquarters. Additional windows were also shattered at a nearby Wells Fargo Bank at the intersection of 2nd St. and E. Grace St.

Police moved crowds away from the burning car and stood lining the street outside of the police station in SWAT gear and shields while protesters were seen throwing throwing rocks and fireworks.

The Virginia State Police, Chesterfield, and Henrico Police were called to serve as back up during the protest, according to Crime Insider sources. A police helicopter was also seen circling the area outside of the headquarters.

Meanwhile, hundreds took the protest online to a Zoom meeting where members discussed finding solutions to prevent police brutality.

“I think we should expect police to be accountable, that there will be ramifications for misconduct and I think in order to do that we have to believe that change is possible," organizer Jasmine Leeward said.

GRTC Bus Fire

Shortly before 1 a.m. Saturday morning, a GRTC bus was lit on fire near the intersection of W. Broad and Belvidere St. on VCU's Monroe Park Campus.

Police used tear gas to move crowds of protesters away from the flaming bus, which was fully engulfed by 1:15 a.m.

VCU Police issued an alert, warning of disorderly crowds and urging people to avoid the area.

GRTC officials said services will be suspended starting Saturday at 8 p.m. through the remainder of the weekend.

"Only essential CARE trips, such as for customers on dialysis, will be completed during this timeframe," a GRTC spokesperson said. "No CARE vehicles will enter any protest area."

GRTC plans to resume service Monday morning, but warned of possible delays or changes if conditions warrant.

Transit company officials said service could also end early Monday evening.

This is a developing story and will be updated as details become available