Today the court denied a request to issue a temporary restraining order that would require the Richmond Police Department (RPD) to stop declaring unlawful assemblies and to end the usage of excessive force against protesters.
Last week, members of Virginia Student Power Network (VSPN) and a group of college students and community members exercised their right to protest when the RPD fired tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and flash grenades into the crowd. These tactics are meant to silence protestors against using their right to express opposition against racial injustice in Richmond.
In turn, VSPN filed a complaint to ask the court to acknowledge that the RPD was operating unlawfully and an order to stop the usage of fear tactics to discourage protestors from exercising their constitutional rights, along with a request for an immediate order to stop these violations.
Ibby Han, director of VSPN said, “As we saw over the weekend, RPD has continued to specifically target and inflict violence upon anti-racist protestors. Now, more than ever, we need to do everything in our power to diminish the scope of policing, and reinvest in real, community-led safety.”
Tram’s Nguyen, co-director of New Virginia Majority said, “As a Richmond resident, I am appalled at the police action against protestors. The RPD’s actions have put everyone in the city under a police state, and it is reprehensible for any residents to feel afraid of the police, especially while protesting.”
We strongly disagree with the decision of the court and will continue to fight for protestors to engage in assembly and to vocalize their anger and frustration with those who are trying to maintain an unequal racial status quo.
New Virginia Majority builds power in working-class communities of color, in immigrant communities, among LGBTQ people, women, youth, and progressives across the Commonwealth. We organize for racial and economic justice through large-scale political education, mobilization, and advocacy around dozens of issues. We fight for a Virginia that is just, democratic, and environmentally sustainable.