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Richmond on Amnesty International Map Documenting Police Violence

Richmond was one of four cities in Virginia cited for examples of human rights violations in response to largely peaceful assemblies.

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Amnesty International documented 125 incidents of police violence in 40 states and the District of Columbia committed by federal agencies, state and local police departments, and National Guard soldiers. The information is presented in an interactive map. Richmond made the list.

To evaluate these incidents, Amnesty International’s Crisis Evidence Lab gathered nearly 500 videos of protests from social media platforms. This digital content was then verified, geolocated, and analyzed by investigators with expertise in weapons, police tactics, and international and US law governing the use of force. In some cases, researchers were also able to interview victims or confirm police conduct using local police department statements.

These human rights violations by US police against peaceful protesters – which were neither proportionate nor necessary to achieve a legitimate law enforcement objective – are particularly egregious as they have occurred at demonstrations denouncing just such police behavior.

The incident in Richmond was the firing of tear gas on protestors at Lee Monument on June 1st. The police officers involved in the incident were placed on administrative leave. Police, Mayor Stoney, and Governor Northman have made no efforts to limit the use of tear gas against protestors.

Councilperson Mike Jones said in a tweet Tuesday that he will be introducing legislation banning flash bangs, tear gas and rubber bullets.

“Innocent civilians & peaceful protestors should not have militaristic weapons deployed on them,” Councilman Jones tweeted. “We are a democracy.”

Councilperson Stephanie Lynch stated that she will co-sponsor the legislation.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Crime

Firearms Now Prohibited in City-Owned Buildings, Parks, and Recreational Facilities

The new rules went into effect on July 1st.

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From the Office of the Mayor:

As of July 1, firearms are prohibited in city-owned buildings, parks, recreational facilities and community facilities. This includes, but is not limited to: City Hall, community centers, the two Department of Social Services locations and all public parks.

Richmond City Council passed the mayor’s ordinance to prohibit guns in city buildings and parks in July 2019. However, the prohibition did not go into effect until July 1, 2020 because the state only recently voted to give municipalities the power to limit guns in certain spaces.

“No Richmonder should ever be threatened by gun violence,” said Mayor Stoney. “This is especially true in public spaces like parks and community centers, where residents expect to enjoy public amenities, not fear for their lives.”

“Paired with our reporting requirement on illegal guns, this key legislative change is a model we should replicate and a foundation we should build on,” continued Mayor Stoney. “Carrying the memory of Markiya Dickson in our hearts, we must continue to advocate and innovate for a safer, stronger Richmond.”

The text of the city code, § 19-334.1 Carrying firearms in certain places, reads:

No person shall carry any firearm within any City-owned building, park, or recreation or community facility. This prohibition shall not apply to any duly authorized (i) military personnel in the performance of their lawful duties, (ii) law enforcement officer, or (iii) security guard contracted or employed by the City.  (Ord. No. 2019-165, § 1, 7-1-2019)

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Community

Photos: J.E.B. Stuart’s Last Ride

Monday morning the city removed the J.E.B. Stuart statue.

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Downtown

Library of Virginia reopens to researchers by advance appointment beginning today

During the initial reopening phase, researchers will be able to use the collections by appointment Tuesday–Friday, 10:00 am–4:00 pm.

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The Library of Virginia has announced that its reading rooms will reopen to researchers by advance appointment beginning at 10:00 am on Tuesday, July 7, 2020.

During the initial reopening phase, researchers will be able to use the collections by appointment Tuesday–Friday, 10:00 am–4:00 pm. To make an appointment, please call 804.692.3800.

COVID-19, which prompted the Library’s closing to the public in mid-March, continues to pose a serious public health risk. The Library’s reopening plan includes new health and safety protocols based on the latest guidance from the Governor’s Office, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What to expect when returning to the Library:

  • Appointments required to use the reading rooms in order to ensure space availability on a researcher’s preferred date
  • Signage describing coronavirus symptoms – Please do not enter the building if you feel unwell or have a fever
  • Face coverings required in the building at all times
  • Physical distancing of six feet required in all public spaces
  • Face masks and hand sanitizer available for the public
  • Frequent cleaning of restrooms and surfaces in public areas throughout the day
  • Returned books quarantined for three days before being available for use again
  • The Exhibition Gallery, the Virginia Shop, our conference rooms, and the reading room at the State Records Center will remain closed

For additional information about what to expect on your visit, take a look at the COVID-19 Update: Guidelines for Researchers, page, which will be updated regularly.

For more on how to use the collections, click here.

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