Richmond police hit with paintballs, other objects near Lee statue; 6 arrested

Clashes between police and protesters Friday night near the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, Va. -- in which officers were hit with paintballs and other objects -- resulted in six arrests, police said.

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The monument to the Civil War general, in the city that served as the capital of the Confederacy, has been the site of frequent clashes in recent weeks, following the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

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A crowd of about 75 to 100 people that gathered near the monument started to disperse around 10 p.m., the police declared an unlawful assembly when officers started being hit with paintball pellets, a police statement said.

 Other objects also were directed toward officers, prompting police to arrest five adults and one juvenile.

Police had at least five vans parked in the area for transporting detainees, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

Charges included unlawful assembly, trespassing and obstruction of justice.

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The crowd was mostly gone by 11:35 p.m., police said.

Police said no tear gas was used but pepper spray was briefly deployed when objects were being thrown at officers.

The declaration of unlawful assembly was the fifth this week, the Times-Dispatch reported. The declarations were in accordance with regulations implemented by then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe following unrest in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, according to the paper.

Protesters in Richmond have been calling the area near the Lee monument the “Marcus-David Peters Circle,” in reference to a black biology teacher who was fatally shot by police while experiencing a “mental health crisis” in 2018, the Times-Dispatch reported.