Richmond Police Chief Will Smith was overcome with emotion as he was describing one of the worst acts of violence carried out in the city during the previous night’s rioting, purportedly over the death of George Floyd.
Chief Smith says rioters set fire to a multi-family residence that was occupied by a child in the 300 block of West Broad Street, then they repeatedly blocked firefighters from accessing the scene, NBC12 reports.
“One incident that is particularly poignant, that truly illustrates the seriousness of the issues we’re facing,” Smith said. “Protesters intentionally set a fire to an occupied building on Broad Street. This is not the only occupied building that has been set fire to in the last two days,” he continued.
“They prohibited us from getting on scene,” the police chief explained. “We had to force our way to make a clear path for the fire department,” he added.
“Protesters intercepted that fire apparatus several blocks away with vehicles and blocked that fire department’s access to the structure fire,” Smith continued. “Inside that home was a child.”
Thankfully, officers were eventually able to find a way to secure access to the home and saved the family, including the child.
“Officers were able to –,” Smith continued as he was overcome with strong emotion, “help those people out of the house,” he said. “We were able to get the fire department there safely,” the police chief added.
“When you take a legitimate issue and hijack it for unknown reasons, that is unacceptable to me, it’s unacceptable to the Richmond Police Department, unacceptable to the city of Richmond,” Smith stated.
Chief William C. Smith comments on a challenging situation during last night’s protests in #RVA. You can watch the rest of this @CityRichmondVA press conference here: https://t.co/jvzqcaRA3i pic.twitter.com/LCHrIIAeM2
— Richmond Police (@RichmondPolice) May 31, 2020
Protests began spreading across the nation on Tuesday to demand justice for George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died after a police officer had his knee on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes during an arrest, as shown in the viral video footage of the incident.
“An eight-minute clip filmed by a person on the street shows Floyd telling police he can’t breathe and begging the cop on top of him to stop before he falls unconscious,” The Daily Wire reported. “Officer Derek Chauvin was identified as the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck outside Cup Foods on Chicago Avenue and East 38th Street.”
“He’s not even resisting arrest right now, bro,” one bystander told the officers in the video. “You’re f***ing stopping his breathing right now, you think that’s cool?”
Since the incident, all four officers involved in the arrest have been fired, investigations from the FBI and state law enforcement have been opened, and the officer at the center of the incident was taken into custody and charged with third-degree murder. However, protests continue.
The protests have turned ugly. Violence has spiked in places like Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York City, Rochester, Richmond, and other major cities.
Nothing wins the hearts and minds of Americans any better than looting, stealing, vandalism, arson, and anarchy — especially when the overwhelming majority of people don’t support the bad cop who started all of this. They are attacking the very people who are in total agreement with them.
If you interfere with an emergency vehicle, you should be arrested and prosecuted for it. And, if you set fire to a building with someone inside, you should be prosecuted with the harshest penalty.