Richmond upheld another lawsuit over the use of tear gas in 2020 in Lee Circle

RICHMAND, Virginia (WRIC) – The city of Richmond reached another settlement in 2020, when protesters gathered near a monument to former General Robert Lee.

A lawyer who filed lawsuits on behalf of the six protesters, Andrew Bodoch, confirmed on Friday that an agreement had been reached earlier this month, but said he could not disclose the terms. In December 2021, 8News reported that Richmond had allocated nearly $ 300,000 other individuals who filed civil lawsuits for police misconduct during civil unrest in the summer of 2020.

Although he was unable to share the terms agreed by the city and the plaintiffs, Bodoch said the settlement now allows his law firm to take on the claims of others on whom Richmond police officers used tear gas in Lee Circle. in June. 2020

Protests erupted across the country after the killings of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis and Breona Taylor in Kentucky. People seeking police reform marched through the streets of Richmond, where a curfew was imposed, and protesters and law enforcement officers clashed in front of the city police department.

June 1, 2020 peacefully demonstrators used tear gas near the statue of Lee on Monument Avenue without warning and until the curfew at 8 p.m., set by Mayor Levar Stony. Richmond Mayor and Chief of Police William Smith, who resigned later that monthapologized near Richmond Town Hall for hundreds of people demanded answers.

Specific details of what led to the tear gas have been limited, with court documents giving only some information, but Bodo said more should be released in July.

“The judge ruled that the protective order in the case will be lifted on July 1,” he said on Friday. This move will shed more light on the solutions behind tear gas.

A spokesman for Mayor Stony did not immediately respond to an 8News request for comment.

The lawsuit, which was settled, claimed that Richmond police officers violated protesters’ rights to the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, and the 14th Amendment, a similar argument from other civil lawsuits in response to the incident.

An unknown portion of the $ 300,000 the city paid last year went to settle another federal civil lawsuit filed on behalf of a man who said he was near a statue of Lee before officers used tear gas without warning.

The civil lawsuit, in which the city and former police chief William Smith were named as defendants, alleged that members of the Richmond Police Department “used deliberate, unjustified and unjustified force and threats of force to disperse citizens” gathered in the area.

The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff, named in court documents as Nathan Arris, “was blinded and felt that his skin, eyes, nose, mouth and lungs were burning, causing a cough and difficulty breathing” after the incident.

The lawsuit alleges that police actions violated Arris’s constitutional rights as well as “his federal constitutional and statutory rights and Virginia law.” The lawsuit, which required a jury trial, required an application, general and compensatory damages, attorney’s fees and other costs of the lawsuit.

This story is evolving. Stay tuned.

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