Police in Richmond Fire 'Chemical Agents' Toward Protesters at Robert E. Lee Statue

Police fired “chemical irritants” at protesters surrounding a monument of Confederate general Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia, late on June 26 and into June 27, according to local media, but Richmond Police claim “no tear gas was used.”

Richmond Police said they declared an unlawful assembly at the Lee monument at 10.17 pm on Friday after paintballs were fired at officers. Four officers and one troopers were struck by paintballs, including one who was taken to hospital after a hard object struck the back of his helmet, police said.

Hannah Eason, a reporter with the Commonwealth Times who shot this footage, said police were firing “explosives and tear gas.” However, Richmond Police denied that, saying one of their officers used pepper spray during “ongoing assaults,” but none of their officers used tear gas.

Journalists at the scene also said police fired rubber bullets, but Storyful has not confirmed those reports. Neither Richmond Police nor Virginia State Police mentioned the use of rubber bullets in their initial statements on their response.

Virginia State Police posted video timestamped to 10.22 pm which they said showed fireworks launched at police by protesters on Monument Avenue.

In video captured by WVEC 13 News photojournalist Stephen Wozny, a police officer can be heard saying “Grab somebody. Get ahold of somebody” as they rush toward protesters. In another clip shot by Wozny, a police officer is seen shoving a person to the ground. Wozny also reported that an “explosive round fired by Virginia State Police” had injured a man. Credit: Hannah Eason/The CT via Storyful