RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Richmond's top prosecutor said Friday she won't file criminal charges against police officers who deployed tear gas on demonstrators gathered at the city's Robert E. Lee statue in 2020 to protest police violence.
In a statement, Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Colette McEachin said confused police radio communications led officers to use tear gas on a peaceful group of protestors who gathered at the statue on June 1, 2020 in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
She said her review showed that police commanders authorized tear gas to be used at the nearby J.E.B. Stuart monument, where a smaller group of protesters was trying to topple the statue.
She said radio transmissions simply referred to “the monument,” and officers at the Lee monument wrongly believed the use of tear gas had been authorized there.
She said in a written statement Friday that there is no criminal liability for officers “who appropriately followed an order in the chain of command that was lawful but, with hindsight, in error.”
Richmond Police quickly apologized for the use of tear gas at the Lee statue and said it was unwarranted. A few days later, the city’s police chief resigned.