RICHMOND- There’s a new sheriff in town for the Richmond Police Department after close to three weeks of violence in the streets.
Richmond mayor Levar Stoney announced that police chief William Smith must submit a form of resignation, to which the chief has obliged.
“It boils down to whether the leadership of RPD embraces the change or stands in the way,” Stoney says.
When asked about Smith, Stoney replied: “Chief Smith is a good man. He’s served this city with grace, but we are ready to move in a different direction.”
Mayor Stoney has also called for a Citizens Review Board for the police department in addition to requesting that the department review its policy on using force.
This decision comes down after close to three weeks of both protests and several nights of violence/unrest. Images and videos surfaced on multiple platforms of officers in riot gear appearing to fire tear gas and smoke canisters at the crowd.
Recently, two students from nearby Virginia Commonwealth University were subject to teargas from officers while covering an ongoing protest for the Commonwealth Times.
Director of the Robertson School of Media Culture Dr. Marcus Messner along with VCU Student Media Center director Allyson Blyche released a joint statement regarding the actions towards the student reporters.
William “Jody” Blackwell has been named interim chief following Smith’s resignation.
Andrew Ringle reports that Stoney announced in his press conference that he will work with interim Chief Blackwell to create a citizen review board, “independent and representative of the entire community.”
As it pertains to finding a permanent chief; Stoney says “There is no timeline. We will do a national search eventually.”