Cops, Courts & Prisons


By Phil Wilayto for The Virginia Defender

Originally posted June 22, 2020 to the Virginia Defender Facebook page.

RICHMOND, VA, June 22 — More than 150 young people active in Richmond’s Black Lives Matter protest movement tonight defied orders from the city and state to leave the liberated zone surrounding the Monument Avenue statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The area has recently been renamed Marcus-David Peters Circle in order of the young high school teacher who was experiencing a mental health crisis when he was gunned down two years ago by a Richmond cop.

The order was to take effect at sunset, which today was at 8:37 p.m. As the deadline approached, police cars were parked to block the Monument Avenue lanes leading to the circle.

As night fell, thunder clouds rolled in and soon erupted in a downpour, followed by thunder and lightning. A few people left the area, but the majority stayed put. At one point the young people began a series of defiant chants. Sentries kept a lookout for advancing police, but they never came.

Finally, a collective decision was made to leave the circle and return the next day. People had stood up to the threat of a police attack and felt empowered and strong.

Meanwhile, reports were coming in that a protest encampment set up outside City Hall a few miles to the east was being attacked by police with flash bombs and chemical agents. Some of the people at the circle headed off in that direction.

The struggle continues.

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