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Richmond Police arrest 3 during protest following Breonna Taylor decision

Posted at 6:44 PM, Sep 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-24 18:57:44-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Police announced the arrest of three demonstrators after hundreds marched through the city on Wednesday.

Protesters took to the streets following the announcement in Louisville, Kentucky that none of the three officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor would be indicted on homicide charges, including murder and manslaughter.

Hundreds of people first gathered at Monroe Park around 8 p.m. before marching down Main Street and eventually to the Richmond Police Department's Headquarters on West Grace Street.

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Justice for Breonna Taylor March in Richmond, Virginia on June 23, 2020

Matt Tessema, a VCU journalism student, stumbled upon the marchers while picking up dinner.

“I just saw the raw emotion of the people,” he recalled. “I was really happy to see the crowd was well behaved. They were walking in front of traffic, but beside that they were being very peaceful.”

Police said three protesters were arrested during the demonstration.

Noah Woodruff is charged with disorderly conduct for pulling an officer’s shield. Lynn Murphy was served with an outstanding warrant for obstructing free passage. Dani Short is charged with obstruction of justice for interfering with the arrest of Murphy.

"While outside RPD Headquarters, protesters were observed spray painting the building, attempting to blind police personnel by shining lasers at them multiple times and blocking traffic," said Richmond Police in a release.

CBS 6 photographer Cole Pearson captured images of protesters filling Monroe Park after dusk. In July, officers arrested some demonstrators for trespassing after dark in the park.

“I think the police department has decided the application of force with protesters will lead to escalation. That escalation ends poorly for everyone,” said Dr. William Pelfrey.

Pelfrey serves as a professor at the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs and is the chair of the Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness programs at VCU.

Most of his research is in policing, use-of-force, police psychology, and training.

“That escalation doesn’t work well for anybody. It doesn’t convey the message that protesters want to convey. Police do not want to be involved in a riot,” Pelfrey explained. “They’re more likely to get hurt, they’re going to have make arrests. It’s bad for community relations. So, what police want is a peaceful well-organized protest.”

Pearson also snapped a brief moment of levity when protesters and officers were seen chatting without an angry confrontation.

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Justice for Breonna Taylor March in Richmond, Virginia on June 23, 2020

“Protest fatigue may be a thing. Once people have come out for protest over and over and over and got tear gassed a few times their approach may have changed,” Pelfrey explained.

Most of the demonstrators were gone by 2 a.m. Thursday.

“I think maybe people are realizing breaking stuff or causing destruction to our community is only going to paint them in a bad light and take them back on their mission,” Tessema said.

Similar protests took place across the country as protesters lashed out at a criminal justice system they say is stacked against Black people.

Violence seized the demonstrations in Taylor's hometown of Louisville as gunfire rang out Wednesday night and wounded two police officers.

Activists, celebrities, and everyday Americans have been calling for charges since Taylor was shot multiple times by officers who entered her home during a narcotics investigation in March.