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Two officers indicted on charges related to Richmond Police actions during unrest

Posted at 10:25 PM, Oct 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-06 23:52:32-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A Richmond Grand Jury received 18 sealed indictments related to actions the Richmond Police Department took during weeks of unrest in Richmond over the late spring and summer months, Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Colette McEachin announced in an email Monday.

The Grand Jury came back with True Bills on two officers of the Richmond Police Department (RPD).

The Commonwealth's Attorney's Office identified the two officers in a statement released late Monday evening.

Detectives Mark Janowski and Christohper Brown have both been charged with assault and battery, according to McEachin.

According to court documents obtained by CBS 6, the alleged incident that led to the indictment for both men happened on May 31, 2020.

An RPD spokesperson told CBS 6 the incident happened around 5:24 a.m. in the 200 block of West Broad Street.

However, neither police nor court documents detailed what is alleged to have happened. Court documents only referred to an assault against "another person".

Det. Janowski, has been with RPD since 2014 and Det. Brown, has been with RPD since 2015, according to a statement released by RPD Chief Gerald Smith.

“These events are unfortunate,” said Chief Smith. “However, we must allow the legal process to work. The officers will be placed on administrative assignment until a verdict is reached.”

Court records also indicated that both men turned themselves in and were released on $2000 unsecured bond.

Both have an arraignment hearing scheduled for 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

The same Grand Jury indicted a protester, Justin Killough for felony assault on a law enforcement officer. A jury trial is set for next year.

Richmond Police clashed with protesters and rioters during weeks of unrest in Richmond following the May death of George Floyd by the hand of a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Hundreds of protesters and rioters have been arrested and charged with various crimes from trespassing and vandalism to assault on law enforcement and rioting.

Some protesters accused Richmond Police of violence and unnecessary use of tear gas and other chemical irritants.

In July, McEachin released her office's findings into five specific complaints filed against the Richmond Police Department. In all five cases, which involved incidents seen by thousands on social media, McEachin's office determined no officer committed a crime.

"This is not a complete list of all of the allegations that our Office is still reviewing and I will announce my findings when those investigations are concluded," she wrote in a July email.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney asked for then Richmond Police Chief William Smith's resignation in mid-June based, in part, on the way Richmond Police interacted with protesters on a near-nightly basis. Chief Gerald Smith was hired in late June and came to Richmond promising to guide Richmond Police back toward the philosophy of “community policing,” which he thinks the department has slowly veered away from over the years.

This is a developing story.