Governor Extends Civil Unrest Declaration

WRVA News
June 30, 2020 - 1:12 pm
Barriers up at the Robert E. Lee Monument.  (Matt Demlein, WRVA)

(Matt Demlein, WRVA)

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Richmond, VA _  Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has extended a declaration of a State of Emergency implemented May 31st in response to civil unrest in the City of Richmond. 

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney wrote to the Governor asking for the extension, saying that the city's budget was being stretched thin by the response to weeks of protests, marches, and demonstrations. 

The extension until July 30, directs state and local governments to render appropriate assistance to prepare for and respond to any civil unrest.

Hours after the Emergency extension was declared, a Richmond Circuit Court Judge issued a ruling denying the Virginia ACLU's request for an injunction.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of protesters and the youth activists of the Virginia Student Power Network (VSPN) , accused the City of Richmond, the Richmond Police Department, and the Virginia State Police of violating the protesters constitutional rights to free speech, assembly and protest.

The suit asked for a temporary injunction banning police from using tear gas to disperse protesters, and suspension of the "Unlawful Assembly" declaration banning gatherings on property surrounding the Robert E. Lee Monument from sundown sunrise, until all legal questions are resolved.

Richmond Circuit Court Judge Beverly Snuckals in denying the request wrote, "Placing these restrictions on defendants in the form of a preliminary injunction unnecessarily burdens the police and puts them and the public at risk.  On the other hand, plaintiffs have the option in the future to protest without unlawful force, without blocking roadways and without disrupting or jeopardizing public peace and order.”