RICHMOND, Va. -- Six people were arrested after police declared an unlawful assembly as hundreds gathered outside Richmond Police Headquarters Saturday night during a demonstration in support of protesters in Portland, Oregon.
"These six persons were part of a group of several hundred individuals who gathered in Monroe Park last night then moved as a loosely organized group through downtown, the VCU campus and the Fan –- setting fires, breaking windows, tagging buildings and sidewalks, and blocking traffic," a Richmond Police spokesperson said in a news release Sunday afternoon.
- James Kelley, 29, of Richmond, was charged with Unlawful Assembly
- Justin Killough, 26, of Richmond, was charged with Unlawful Assembly
- Stephen Loughman, 29, of Richmond, was charged with Unlawful Assembly – Rioting with a Firearm
- Wendell Lundy, 36, of Hampton, was charged with Unlawful Assembly
- Alton Rittenour, 26, of Richmond, was charged with Unlawful Assembly
- Justin Thompson, 28, of Hopewell, was charged with Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer, Rioting
Protesters had been planning for days the demonstration called “Richmond Stands with Portland” in an apparent reaction to ongoing tensions between protesters and U.S. agents in Oregon's largest city.
"An Unlawful Assembly has been declared at RPD Headquarters," Richmond Police posted on Twitter just after 11:05 p.m. "Please disperse or face arrest."
Police said the group used rocks, batteries and other objects to attack officers outside the department's headquarters.
Police have now released chemical agents to clear the area! One protester was taken into custody. pic.twitter.com/kOap0F6dEz— Rob Desir (@Rob_Desir) July 26, 2020
Rob Desir said someone in the crowd smashed out the windows of a city dump truck and set it on fire just before 11:20 p.m.
"Police have now released chemical agents to clear the area," Desir wrote at 11:22 p.m. "One protester was taken into custody."
Virginia State Police posted video of the fire department "extinguishing fire set by rioters." Crews also extinguished a mattress fire.
Police said buildings and businesses in the 800 block of West Grace Street were damaged.
Glass windows were shattered at restaurants and a dorm on the Virginia Commonwealth University campus.
Photos of the aftermath showed damage at the Village Cafe, Chipotle, Noodles & Company, Panda Express, Rick's Pizza and SWEAT in the Fan.
Desir said hundreds of people were marching on E. Cary Street just after 10 p.m.
"Protest has now move on Broad St. heading towards downtown," Desir posted at 10:30 p.m.
Protest has now move on Broad St. heading towards downtown pic.twitter.com/zNqxG4paPu— Rob Desir (@Rob_Desir) July 26, 2020
"Police in full riot gear at RPD where the protesters appears to plan on heading," Desir wrote at 11 p.m. "Police have ordered them to disperse."
Virginia State Police officials said troopers were "on post to protect" the police department's headquarters.
"Protesters tore down police tape & have pushed forward w/lasers & firecrackers," state police posted on Twitter just after 11 p.m.
Saturday's demonstration comes nine weeks after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis on May 25.
Since then the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on Richmond's Monument Avenue had become a focal point for protesters against police brutality and racism in the wake of Floyd's death.
Clashes between police and protesters gathered near the statue had become a regular occurrence.