I was present tonight around Jackson Ward with the intent to observe police activity in the area. Given the marked police aggression at prior months’ First Fridays events, and our observation of August’s in particular, we anticipated more unwarranted aggressive conduct from the Richmond Police Department, despite this month’s event being officially canceled. I arrived with Y at roughly 6pm, and met up with Z. We organized our Know-Your-Rights literature to hand out to passers-by, got our cameras ready, and set out down the street.
The first thing we ran into was the RPD’s Mobile Command Center, which was parked on Broad Street and then moved behind the Hess Station at Broad and Belvidere, along with a few police vans. We then came to observe roughly 50+ officers posted in the area, mostly in groups of 3-10, standing at intersections and bus stops waiting around. They were all suited up with bulletproof vests, some with tactical/crowd control gear. There were also several squad cars on the street, their respective officers engaged with the task of towing cars not compliant with the temporary parking restrictions imposed for the night. These restrictions had also been imposed at August’s First Fridays event, and everyone present witnessed the entirety of Broad Street cleared between Belvidere and Adams St. Again, tonight we saw at least four tow trucks diligently moving vehicles. (more…)