Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and Police Chief Gerald Smith held a joint press conference on Sunday to address overnight riots in Richmond which they say were instigated by white supremacists posing as Black Lives Matter protesters, reports NBC12.
Both city officials thanked peaceful protesters and the Black Lives Matter movement and denounced violence and arson fires started by some agitators in the crowd.
Stoney said there were reports of white supremacists in the crowds who incited the violence.
“There were white supremacists marching under the banner of Black Lives Matter, an attempt to undermine an otherwise overwhelmingly peaceful movement toward social justice,” Stoney said. “We’ve spoken on many occasions about those who’ve chosen a more violent route to express their discontent and what that does for the overall movement toward social justice.”
Richmond police used chemical agents to disperse a large group of protesters that had made their way from Monroe Park to Richmond Police Headquarters Saturday night. Police arrested six people throughout the night, four were arrested for unlawful assembly, which is a misdemeanor. One man was charged with unlawful assembly and rioting with a firearm, which is a felony. Another man was arrested for assaulting a law enforcement officer, a felony, and rioting.
“We have identified some individuals who have been seen with the Boogaloo boys and some Antifa groups around the area,” said Richmond police chief Gerald Smith on Sunday. “The majority of those individuals who were there last night were Caucasian.”
Police declared the protest an unlawful assembly around 11 p.m. Saturday after officers were attacked with rocks, batteries and other objects.
Officers used chemical agents to disperse several hundred people setting fires, breaking windows and blocking traffic on their way to police headquarters.