RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — An angry crowd shouted down Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney Tuesday after police lobbed tear gas at a group of peaceful demonstrators during a protest over the death of George Floyd.
Several hundred people gathered outside City Hall, chanted “FIRE THEM!” and repeatedly drowned out Stoney as he apologized and promised that the officers involved will face disciplinary action.
Video posted to social media of the Monday night incident shows a line of police launching tear gas toward a group of protesters, who appeared to be yards away from the officers and peacefully gathered on the grass near the statue.
Police Chief William Smith also apologized and also took a knee briefly after being invited to do so by a woman in the crowd.
Chief Smith just reviewed video of gas being deployed by RPD officers near the Lee Monument and apologizes for this unwarranted action. These officers have been pulled from the field. They will be disciplined because their actions were outside dept protocols and directions given.
— Richmond Police (@RichmondPolice) June 2, 2020
The Richmond Police Department initially defended its use of tear gas shortly before an 8 p.m. curfew Monday night, tweeting that some officers “were cut off by violent protesters” and the tear gas “was necessary to get them to safety.” About two hours later, the department retreated from that position after Smith reviewed video of the incident.
The department apologized and said the officers who used the tear gas have been pulled from the field and and will be disciplined.
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