RICHMOND, VA — In lockstep with other cities across America, Richmond, Virgina — the former capitol of the Confederate States of America — saw violent and destructive riots over the weekend. And the liberal establishment in both government and media are spinning the violence and destruction as both an isolated incident and as the work of White Supremacist infiltrators.
Despite the fact that Richmond’s violent weekend neatly coincided with similar events in cities across the United States (or — more increasingly — the Divided States), news outlets in and around Richmond were quick to act as the public relations arm of the liberal establishment that has allowed and even assisted the violence that has rocked Richmond since the death of George Floyd. Both Mayor Levar Stoney and his puppet police chief, Gerald Smith, have been been quoted at length in media reports claiming that the rioting, destruction, vandalism, arson, and violence were not the work of Black Lives Matter protesters. The real culprits, according to those reports, were white supremacists disguised as BLM.
The germ of this weekend’s violence was a Richmond Stands With Portland flyer circulated on social media before the weekend. The flyer, which stated “F**K THE FEDS. F**K RDP. F**K VSP. F**K TRUMP.” also included, “NO BAD PROTESTERS. NO GOOD COPS.” and instructed would-be rioters to “COME PREPARED. WEAR A MASK, BRING WATER.” As to the intention of the “protest,” the flyer stated, “NO PEACE POLICE. DO WHAT YOU WANT. F**K SH*T UP.” The time, date and location were clearly marked: “SATURDAY 7/25 – MEET AT MONROE PARK 9:30PM”
Monroe Park has served as the staging ground and headquarters for BLM and Antifa “protests” in the city for the past few weeks. It came as no surprise that the flyer promoting a violent event would list Monroe Park as the epicenter for the event.
And though Mayor Stoney and his puppet police chief were aware of the event in advance and claimed to have plans to keep things under control, no such “plans” showed any signs of existence before, during, or after the event. Richmond Councilwoman Kim Gray, who represents the city’s 2nd District, sent an e-mail to Mayor Levar Stoney and newly appointed Police Chief Gerald Smith regarding the city’s response plan to the protest, according to a report from Richmond’s ABC affiliate.
That e-mail stated, in part, “As I am sure you know, publicity for this event is calling for participants to gather at Monroe Park at 9:30 p.m. tomorrow night. It can very easily be inferred from the attached flyer that participants will be encouraged or incited to engage in violent behavior.” Gray’s missive went on to state, “It would be tremendously reassuring to residents if the City administration and RPD could communicate a plan of action.”
She asked specifically what the plan of action — if any — was and what precautions residents should take. She told the ABC affiliate that she never received a response from either Mayor Stoney or Chief Smith. In a statement to that ABC affiliate, the Richmond Police Department (RDP) said it was “aware of the flyer.” That statement also said, “We are prepared. We will stay in touch, should anything develop.”
What developed was a weekend in which buildings, cars, and trucks were burned, stores and other businesses were looted, and shots were fired into crowded areas (resulting in at least one life-threatening injury). Before the violence, neither police nor the mayor’s office took any action to prevent the gathering of people who were — according to the widely circulated flyer — there to “F**K SH*T UP” while “NO PEACE POLICE” would be present. During the violence, police — acting under the direction of Chief Smith — did little to contain of control the violence. Only after it was too late did Mayor Stoney direct the police to call the riot “an unlawful assembly” and break it up. More than 20 people were arrested in the aftermath.
And then both Stoney and Smith — who knew this was coming and said there was a plan to handle it — took the “blame someone else” approach. Perhaps that was the plan all along. Becuase the “someone else” they blamed is “white supremacists.”
“We have identified some individuals who have been seen with the Boogaloo boys and some Antifa groups around the area,” Chief Smith said during a news conference Sunday afternoon. “The majority of those individuals who were there last night were Caucasian.” He added, “We know that the origin of the flyer came from outside of Richmond.”
And the Richmond CBS affiliate reported:
Mayor Levar Stoney opened his remarks by thanking peaceful protesters with organizations like Black Lives Matter after what he called “24 consecutive days of peaceful protests.” He also thanked the police and fire departments for their response Saturday night.
“You know, here in Richmond our standard for protest is that all groups walk away safe,” Stoney said. “But protesters having expressed their discontent, and the officers having supported that peaceful expression of their First Amendment rights. That’s not what happened last night.”
Stoney said the violence “hurt many people in the Richmond community, both through the threatening of lives and the destruction of property. And simply put, that is unacceptable in the City of Richmond. Unacceptable.”
Stoney blamed white supremacists “marching under the banner of Black Lives Matter” for the violence, saying they had infiltrated and co-opted a peaceful protest movement. He said:
We’ve spoken on many occasions about those who’ve chosen a more violent route to express their discontent, and what that does for the overall movement towards social justice,” Stoney said. “Last night that reared its ugly head right here in the City of Richmond…. We saw some violent actions, violent protests, spearheaded by white supremacists. And frankly, it was disgusting. Disgusting. As they held plywood shields that read, BLM, these folks toured areas of damage downtown, The Fan, breaking windows, tagging private property with hateful language.
So, armed with foreknowledge and what they consider credible intelligence, Stoney and his puppet chief of police allowed the violence. And then quickly blamed it on white supremacist groups (including Antifa!) while praising BLM for being so peaceful for the past 24 days. One is left to wonder why the 24-day-mark is used as the measurement. Because if one looks back past that 24-day mark, one is not surprised at what happened this weekend.
This writer has referred to Chief Gerald Smith as Mayor Stoney’s puppet. Perhaps a little background is in order. Gerald Smith who was appointed by Mayor Stoney after he dismissed former-Police Chief Will Smith in June, after that chief had taken a harder line against the violence that erupted in Richmond in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. In his announcement that he he had requested Chief Will Smith to resign, Stoney said, “At a very minimum, I expect [the police] to be able to come to the table with the community to reform public safety. So it boils down to whether the leadership of [the Richmond Police] embraces the change.”
Will Smith, who is white, had met force with force as he attempted to protect Richmond from the violence inflicted by BLM and Antifa. And that had put him on Stoney’s radar as a man who needed to leave if the “new” direction of Richmond were to be embraced. Stoney famously marched with both BLM and Antifa “protesters” who had already racked the city with violent protests. In fact, he marched with them after putting a curfew in place for the city. As the time for the curfew approached, Stoney publicly stated that he would need to bow out, so as not to violate his own curfew. But he encouraged those who were staying out past that curfew to stay safe and behave themselves. Such is not the stuff of leadership.
One pivotal event just before Will Smith’s dismissal was the arson of an occupied building in late May as part of the “protests” in Richmond. In that incident, a small child was trapped in the burning building and “protesters” deliberately blocked access in an attempt to keep the fire department from reaching the fire. The child was eventually saved, and Chief Will Smith gave an emotional statement to the media. Choking back tears, he said, “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.”
Only days later, Stoney marched with BLM and Antifa “protesters” — a clear indication of the direction he intended for the city. Days later, he dismissed Will Smith, replacing him with interim Chief Jody Blackwell (a black woman) until Gerald Smith (a black man) was hired July 1. Color, of course, has nothing to do with anything. Except when it does because the color was chosen deliberately.
The new Chief Smith gave early signs of towing the proper line to keep Stoney happy. In a press conference July 13, Smith split the difference on the issue of defunding police, stating, “The question is not defund the police; it’s fund the change.” He also advocates for a civilian review board to cripple police in their efforts to protect the city from increasing crime — especially in predominately black areas, where it is highest.
Now, when true leadership is needed, the lunatics in Richmond are running the asylum. Since the true test of leadership is given in tough times, this weekend’s violence and lack of planning by either Stoney or Smith serve to show a failure that will likely continue.
Richmond is being remade. And Stoney and his puppet are helping mold it.
Image from riot: Screenshot of video from WTVR CBS 6