Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declares state of emergency due to protests

Yolanda Curtis
June 3, 2020

In a statement Sunday morning, Northam acknowledged calls for justice and affirmed "deep concerns from the black community".

"I'm telling you right now we have made mistakes".

"Officers were able to", Smith said, with his voice overcome with emotion, "help those people out of the house". "I want to listen", Stoney said.

Smith and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney denounced the violent actions of some rioters, who they say were using the George Floyd protests to cause violence and destruction.

"Protesters intentionally set a fire to an occupied building on Broad Street".

Richmond is now under an 8 pm curfew imposed by Mayor Levar Stoney, but the incident that occurred at the Robert E. Lee Monument last night began nearly an hour before the curfew, when local police began launching tear gas canisters at protesters gathered around the Lee Monument. This is not the only occupied building that has been set fire to over the last two days. "You know how scared you are to go outside right now because you don't know if the virus might be transmitted?"

"They prohibited us from getting on scene", the police chief continued. "We had to force our way to make a clear path for the fire department".

The officers who opened fire with the tear gas have allegedly been pulled from field duty and face disciplinary action by the Richmond police department.

Smith claimed the rioters had traveled from outside the city to take advantage of the plans for peaceful protest.

"We have people from across the country who have traveled from many states to be here", he said.

"One incident that is particularly poignant, that truly illustrates the seriousness of the issues we're facing", Chief Will Smith told reporters.

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