Richmond, VA

Video, audio, and records being released of Richmond Police tear gassing BLM protestors in June 2020

People sitting on the Robert E. Lee monument in June 2020Courtesy of Mobilus in Mobili (CC 2.0)

Richmond, VA is an example of why you don’t do everything that you're capable of doing.

The police response to the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 has led to a stream of lawsuits that are costing taxpayers money and leaving a stain on the city’s reputation.

For example, journalists and bloggers will soon have access to a trove of resources about Richmond police tear-gassing protestors on June 1. Video footage, audio recordings and records are being released from scenes on Monument Ave.

Some of the items released will include records of the department’s radio traffic, officer narrative reports, department policies, and a list of officers present during the tear gassing, including their ranks, reported VPM.

Body camera footage will be forthcoming that includes about 70 different perspectives from between 7 and 8 p.m. at the J. E. B. Stuart and Robert E. Lee monuments, VPM added.

Why is this material being released?

It’s part of a recent settlement against the City of Richmond. This time, five people were filing a lawsuit against the city for using tear gas. They are Jonathan Arthur, Ryan Tagg, Keenan Angel, Christopher Gayler, Megan Blackwood, and Jarrod Blackwood.

To settle the lawsuit, Richmond must make content from June 1 2020 publicly available through the Library of Virginia.

Some of the settlement material was recently released, including law enforcement’s aircraft surveillance footage, which shows the scene around the J.E.B. Stuart monument around the time protestors are tear gassed.

In addition to the view, the footage provides valuable quotes from officers’ discussions, including these highlighted by WFXR Fox:

  • “We should have never done this to begin with,” one officer is heard saying.
  • “Nope, I don’t know why we engage these people,” one officer responds.
  • “I don’t think they ever gave any warnings or anything either,” another officer responds.
  • “I mean, who cares,” an officer answers.

Body cam footage from the scene at the Lee monument helps offers:

· Views of protestors appearing peaceful when tear gas is unleased.

· Protestors being maced after being tear gassed

· Audio of officers cheering at being authorized to use gas.

The bulk of the body cam footage and radio communications are not yet accessible through the collection, the Library of Virginia says.

This trove of resources about the Richmond police tear gassing on June 1, 2020 could grow far beyond what the city provides. The public will be able to contribute their videos and photos to the repository too, VPM reported.

To hear about the Richmond lawsuit claiming mistreatment of journalists and how much related settlements have cost Richmond so far, LISTEN to this episode of the KnowGood Podcast.

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