Cops, Courts & Prisons


Originally published in the Autumn 2020 edition of the Virginia Defender, issue 63, printed October 29. Reproduced here for accessibility and archival purposes. To find other stories in the Autumn 2020 issue or download the full PDF, see this post. For the full web catalog, see our Full Issues page.

Staff Report

Michaela Hatton speaking at the Defenders’ July 22 press conference in front of the John Marshall Courts Building. To her left is Omari Al-Qadaffi. Photo by Phil Wilayto.

During the months of national anti-racist protests triggered by the brutal police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, around 300 protesters were arrested in Richmond. Some are facing serious felony charges.

Four more young people were arrested here the evening of Oct. 27 while protesting the fatal police shooting in Philadelphia of Walter Wallace Jr., a Black man experiencing a mental health crisis. Wallace’s family had called for an ambulance and instead got two cops,who arrived without nonlethal weapons.

On July 22, the Defenders held a press conference attended by more than 80 people outside the John Marshall Courts Building, calling for all charges to be dropped against all protesters.

We raise that demand again.

It is right to rebel against racist oppression.

Sidewalk graffiti near the Marcus-David Peters Circle calls for reopening his case and dropping all charges against protesters. Both were among the seven demands of the Richmond Rebellion.

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