11 arrests made during protest of COVID-19 outbreak, conditions at Richmond jail | #coronavirus | #scams | #covid19

RICHMOND, Va. — Richmond Police made 11 arrests during a protest outside of the Richmond City Justice Center on Tuesday.

One person was charged with “obstructing a tow truck as it attempted to remove an illegally parked vehicle,” and 10 other were charged with “obstructing RPD officers as they attempted to restore order.”

Around 5:15 p.m., dozens of people gathered outside of the Richmond City Justice Center to protest after a recent COVID-19 outbreak was reported among inmates, in which more than 100 inmates tested positive. Parents of inmates have also told CBS 6 that there is a lack of cleaning supplies, communication, and social distancing inside of the jail.

Protesters have said that “cages are not a viable method of rehabilitation,” especially during a pandemic, and that funds should be reallocated from police and prisons to finance mental health programs and holistic crime-prevention programs.

Protestors have also repeatedly claimed that an inmate who was in custody died of COVID-19, however, officials with the Richmond Sheriff’s Office have repeatedly denied the claim.

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Around 6:15 p.m., the protesters began to approach a group of sheriff’s deputies where they continued with their chants, of “care not cages,” “defund the police,” and “money for health and not police”

At 6:30 p.m. Richmond Police Officers began to arrive at the protest. 15 minutes later, two tow trucks arrived for protester’s vehicles.

At 6:50 p.m., witnesses said Richmond police chased, pushed down, and arrested a biker who was blocking one of the tow trucks.

Police said the bicyclist blocked a tow truck as it attempted to remove a vehicle parked illegally outside the Justice Center.

“When an RPD officer arrived, the bicyclist attempted to flee the scene and was stopped by the officer,” police said. “Other protesters attempted to interfere with that arrest and others that followed. They were also arrested.”

Video from the protest shows multiple officers making arrests, at times throwing protesters to the ground.

The bicyclist was charged with Obstruction of Justice without Force, while the 10 others were charged with Obstruction of Justice with Force.

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Around 7:00 p.m., the crowds dispersed.

On Monday, officials with the sheriff’s office said they were reinforcing CDC guidelines to reduce the spread of the virus as well as offering testing.

“Inmates that have tested positive are in the same living/housing areas,” officials said. “They get their vitals checked a minimum of 4 times in a 24 hour period. Inmates that may have been exposed are quarantined, locked down, tested, and allowed out during the day to use phones, take showers, and exercise.”

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Jail officials said they conducted another mass testing for COVID-19 Monday in conjunction with the health department.

CBS 6 has reached out to the Richmond Police Department for comment.

This is a developing story.

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