Violent riots have swept through the United States and Virginia saw a contentious scenario on Saturday.
Riots Take Over Richmond
What initially began as a somewhat peaceful protest soon turned into a riot as anarchists made their way to a police station in Richmond.
“Last night, Richmond’s long-held streak of peaceful protest ended,” Richmond Police Department Chief Gerald M. Smith said during a press conference. “To begin, the event last night we had a feel for that something was amiss for about a week before that.”
“A flyer and different versions of a particular flyer were going around the city of Richmond that we believe originated outside the City of Richmond and anyone who saw that flyer or read that flyer could clearly feel its tone,” Smith continued. “Its tone was to have intimidation and fear to the community and that was a cry and a rally to Monroe Park last week anywhere between 8:30 and 9 o’clock in which individuals, several hundred individuals did.”
Started Off Peaceful But Soon Devolved
The demonstrators held a peaceful protest, according to Smith, until they came to the police station, which is where things turned ugly, the Daily Wire reports.
#DEVELOPING – A dump truck has been set on fire as protests turn violent in Richmond, Virginia: PM
— SV Breaking News 🚨 (@SVNewsAlerts) July 26, 2020
“These individuals, once they got to the police department, became very aggressive verbally towards the officers who were there,” Smith said. “That quickly escalated to throwing of bricks, batteries, rocks at officers – officers who had to protect themselves with shields. And I will give them great praise for their patience in that arena.”
“A disbursal order was given, the officers continued to take the rocks, the bricks, and the batteries being thrown at them for quite some time. That continued on,” Smith continued. “It was beyond the point that we could have taken action. When we were forced to action was when the individuals in this crowd, and I’m just going to be blunt, these rioters in the crowd, the rioters [inaudible] this crowd set a dump truck on fire there at police headquarters, which became an entirely different situation.”
Fire Department Takes on Riots
The fire department came on the scene to try and deal with the arson fires but was also attacked by the mob increasing the riots.
Protesters set a city dump truck ablaze outside RPD Headquarters. Unlawful Assembly has been declared. RPD officers must secure the area before firefighters can respond. pic.twitter.com/xzKkLO7sg8
— Richmond Police (@RichmondPolice) July 26, 2020
However, the fire officials did not have protective equipment such as shields like the police officers did, nor did they have the training to deal with violent situations.
To make matters more complicated, the fire department chief said they were contending with several fires started by the rioters.
“If that fire [in the dump truck] was not put out, we may have had a mass casualty incident if those tanks had exploded,” Smith later added.
Eventually, law enforcement chased them off, but the rioters continued to set fires to dumpsters.