After Another Night of Unrest in Richmond, Mayor Stoney Outlines Public Safety Revisions

Jun 22, 2020

A statue of Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart along Richmond's Monument Avenue. Protesters attempted to pull the monument down Sunday night.
Credit AP Photo / Chad Williams / DroneBase via AP

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney outlined a plan to revise public safety Monday afternoon. His presentation came after weeks of demonstrations and repeated clashes between police and protestors.

Stoney said he wants to see a review of police use of force policies as well as the establishment of a civilian review board and a public safety task force.

"The issues that we have with our public safety system and what’s creating racial equity and justice more broadly in our community does not have an easy or straightforward solution," the mayor said.

Stoney delivered his remarks at a hearing arranged after a Public Safety Committee meeting slated for this week was cancelled.

Earlier in the day, Richmond city council members Stephanie Lynch and Michael Jones called for the City Attorney to investigate a path for the immediate removal of Confederate monuments, citing concerns about public safety.

Jones says he attempted to diffuse a standoff Sunday night after officers deployed chemical agents and rubber bullets against protestors. The Richmond Police Department had declared the demonstration an “unlawful assembly” after protestors attempted to take down a statue of Confederate general J.E.B. Stuart.

"Right now the statues are just a flashpoint of energy and emotion for both sides," he says.

This year the General Assembly voted to give cities the authority to remove monuments in their jurisdiction. The law requires a 60-day process and will take effect on July 1st. Stoney says his administration has been trying to find a way to take the monuments down sooner, but removal without approval could result in criminal charges.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.