UPDATED: In Richmond, Demonstrators March for Sixth Day of Protests
We're signing off for the night - please see our other stories from today:
Protesters Demand More than Removal of Confederate Monuments
Northam, Stoney Back Removal of Confederate Monuments
VIDEO: Richmond Police Spit at or Near Detained Protester
Health Experts Weigh In On COVID Concerns Amid Protests
5:47 p.m. Wednesday Update:
A senior administration official confirmed to VPM that Gov. Ralph Northam will announce plans tomorrow to remove the Robert E. Lee Monument, on Richmond’s Monument Ave. The statue has been the site of nights of protests and has been heavily vandalized.
5:45 p.m. Wednesday Update:
In a press release, Stoney announced that after marching last night he will now take the advice of local advocates and call for a number of reforms, including removing Confederate monuments.
Along with City Councilman Mike Jones, the mayor said he will introduce an ordinance to take down the Confederate statues along Monument Avenue. The monuments have been the subject of vandalism during the nights of protests. A new law takes effect July 1st that allows localities to relocate or remove war memorials, before state law prevented local governments from doing so.
The formation of a civilian review board is also under consideration by the mayor. He said the board would be independent from the Richmond Police Department and would include a diverse group of stakeholders.
In addition, Stoney says his administration will also create a crisis alert system, known as the Marcus Alert. It’s named after Marcus-David Peters, who was shot and killed by Richmond Police in 2018. The alert would call on mental health experts to be first responders to deescalate situations involving people experiencing a mental health crisis.
In Richmond, protesters began a sixth day of demonstrations against police brutality at the Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue around 2 p.m. A large group walked to the statue from Willow Lawn, joining dozens who had gathered early.
Speakers took turns talking about racism and police violence against people of color before they marched to the Capitol.
Yesterday, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney joined protesters. Some called it a "PR stunt," but others said it was "genuine." The mayor was fulfilling a promise he'd made earlier in the day, when over a thousand people demanded he answer for police who launched gas canisters into a peaceful crowd assembled at the Lee statue Monday night, 20 minutes before curfew.
The mayor has not yet joined the marchers today, who chanted, "Where is Stoney?" on their way to the Capitol.
Others joined the marchers, bringing their numbers to over a thousand at the Capitol, where more speakers took turns at megaphones. They then marched back to the Lee Monument.
The protest is expected to continue into the night. In a statement earlier today, Stoney said he's let the previous curfew expire.