It has been suspected throughout the course of the protests against racial injustice that there have been “other groups” who have been rioting. Now, according to police officials in Richmond, Virginia, recent riots were instigated by white supremacists who were posing as Black Lives Matter protesters, according to WTVR CBS.
Richmond, Virginia, chief of police, Gerald Smith, has stated that he believes that members of Antifa and the Boogaloo boys were part of the hundreds of people marching toward the Richmond Police headquarters on Saturday night. The demonstration was planned to support the protesters in Portland, Oregon.
“We have identified some individuals who have been seen with the Boogaloo boys and some Antifa groups around the area,” Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith said at a press conference on Sunday afternoon. “The majority of those individuals who were there last night were Caucasian.”
“And some of the individuals that we encountered were from outside of Richmond, Virginia, and some of the surrounding area,” Smith stated.
Mayor Levar Stoney had thanked the peaceful protesters that were associated with organizations like Black Lives Matter after what he called “24 consecutive days of peaceful protests.”
“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 also mentioned that 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.”
The mayor had blamed white racists that were “marching under the banner of Black Lives Matter” for corrupting the peaceful social justice movement.
“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.”
Stoney said Saturday’s riot aimed to undermine the month of peaceful, community-driven protest in Richmond.
“As I began with, I want to send a thanks to the BLM protesters on the ground who decried the white supremacists once they were identified. I’m thankful to you for drawing the line and sticking up not just for the sanctity of your movement, but also the safety of your fellow Richmonders that you marched alongside as well,” Stoney said. “I’m thankful to the officers who were on duty last night for contending with the change in expectations for them. Change is always hard, but now it is the time for that change — and if you’re on our team, you know that.”