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Richmond Police investigating complaints against officers, use of force policies

Posted at 9:04 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-09 00:19:04-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Richmond Police Department is investigating complaints filed against officers throughout a week of protests in Richmond, Police Chief Will Smith announced on Monday.

“The Richmond Police Department has been collecting and analyzing information about the conduct of its officers. We have received several formal complaints which are being investigated, and that is just one component of our comprehensive review," Smith wrote.

In the wake of George Floyd's death at the hands of the Minneapolis police, Richmond, as well as cities across the country, exploded in protests and demonstrations to protest police brutality.

The Richmond Police Department's tactics and use of force came under scrutiny on multiple occasions, from a man being pepper-sprayed while inside his house to police teargassing a crowd of thousands of peaceful protesters before curfew on Monument Avenue.

Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Colette McEachin said that she will review all allegations of criminal behavior that occurred during demonstrations in the city since they began on May 29, including accusations made against law enforcement.

At least one person has filed a lawsuit against the four Richmond Police officers who deployed tear gas during Monday's peaceful demonstration at the Lee monument.

Richmond Police Chief William Smith called it an "unwarranted action."

"Chief Smith just reviewed video of gas being deployed by RPD officers near the Lee Monument and apologizes for this unwarranted action," Richmond Police tweeted Monday night. "These officers have been pulled from the field. They will be disciplined because their actions were outside dept protocols and directions given."

"I have ordered a review of our use of force and crowd management policies as well as all tactics used during the past week," Smith said. "Further, we will open a discussion with community leaders to advise us on how our policies, training and practices need to change to reflect the needs of our city, and I am personally committed to continuing the conversation on police reform with the community.”

Anyone who wishes to file a report can contact the Commonwealth Attorney's office at (804) 646-3500.

"I will provide the public with an update on the investigations and any disciplinary steps taken once they are complete and a determination is made by the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office that allows such discussion.