Richmond police arrest over 200 protesters during curfew

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Police in Richmond arrested more than 200 people during a third night of protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

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The arrests were made Sunday, the first night of an 8 p.m. curfew imposed after some protesters smashed windows, vandalized businesses and set a police car and a city bus on fire during earlier protests.

Police had said Sunday night that at least two dozen people had been arrested, but news outlets reported Richmond police Chief William Smith updated that number during a news conference Monday, saying a total of 233 people had been arrested. Smith said more than half of the people who were arrested did not live in Richmond.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports police used tear gas and pepper spray on demonstrators, who started marching downtown from the defaced Robert E. Lee statue shortly after the curfew took effect.

After the arrests broke up the large group of protesters, small pockets of people gathered around downtown and the Virginia Commonwealth University campus.

Meanwhile, a man who was hit by gunfire while riding in a car near protesters early Sunday morning remained hospitalized for a life-threatening gunshot wound, police said.

Police said gunfire shot from behind the car struck the man as he passed through protesters. Authorities learned about the shooting after being called to a hospital where the man was being treated. Authorities did not identify the victim.

Gov. Ralph Northam activated the National Guard in a state of emergency declaration issued Sunday afternoon.

Some protesters sprayed graffiti, including “Say His Name” and “George Floyd.” But there were fewer instances of vandalism Sunday. Businesses along Broad Street and elsewhere covered their windows with plywood after numerous businesses were vandalized Saturday and several of the city's Confederate monuments were covered in graffiti.

Peaceful protests occurred throughout the day Sunday before the demonstration that ultimately ended in arrests, with many protesters decrying the violence and destruction caused by rioters the night before.

In Virginia Beach, tensions escalated Sunday night as hundreds marched. The Virginian-Pilot reports that police lined Atlantic Avenue in riot gear and appeared to deploy tear gas. Several Oceanfront businesses were damaged, according to social media posts.

“At approximately 9:45 p.m., a small portion of the marchers began to participate in criminal behavior resulting in police enforcement,” police said in a statement.

The protests in Virginia were similar to those across the nation in response to Floyd's death in Minneapolis last week. Floyd, a handcuffed black man, died after pleading for air as a white police officer pressed his knee on Floyd's neck.

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