Posts Tagged ‘richmond racism’

Richmond Copwatch met Friday night at 6pm to do Copwatch patrols during the monthly First Fridays Art Walk on Broad and Marshall streets downtown.One Copwatcher went into Rite Aid to purchase some drinks. The rest (about 12 at that point) were waiting on the edge of the parking lot.

Before Copwatch even split off into separate patrols, a Richmond Cop- Toney Waldorf of the 4th precinct – pulled into the Rite- Aid parking lot where we were meeting. He parked quickly and at an angle, and then exited his vehicle. He called out “Hey What Are You Doing”, to 2 Copwatchers – Z and M- who were walking past his car towards Broad street.  One Copwatcher, M, replied, “Am I Being Detained?”. The Cop did not identify himself or express what it was he wanted from anyone in that area. He finally exclaimed “I’m not talking to you” and then jumped in front of the Copwatcher, Z, on the outside of the pair (farther away from him). Waldorf the cop, unsheathed his Tazer and held it in a firing stance in Z’s face.

The Tazer was about 2 feet from his face, and the cop held it out while yelling about how Z should have stopped walking faster (even though it was by no means clear who that cop was talking to or what he wanted from whoever he was directing his attention towards).

The cop - Waldorf- already tall, stood on the median of the parking lot, putting his tazer (which he is holding with 2 hands in a firing stance) at Z's face level. Z did nothing to resist, reached for no potential weapon, and essentially did nothing threatening in any way which could have justified Waldorf's use of potentially lethal force.

When other police arrived they started telling the Copwatchers to leave the Rite Aid parking lot. Copwatchers, still filming, all cooperated and moved to exit the parking lot. While M was walking backwards out of the parking lot, filming, one Cop who’s embroidered tag said “Stone” refused to identify himself by name and code number. While he aggressively invaded M’s space, M continued to walk backwards towards the exit. Stone committed  Battery on M by grabbing her arm to push her at one point, while she continued to exit the parking lot. He also completely violated RPD’s protocol by refusing to identify himself.

Here is part of Z’s personal account:

“After waiting outside of the Rite Aid for a friend to retrieve some drinks, me and another friend were walking away to observe Richmond’s first Friday event.  While we were walking away a police car pulled up and an officer got out asking to speak with us.

I said “what?  No, why?”  and continued to walk slowly away

M said “are we being detained?”

Police said “I’m talking to him”

M repeated “are we being detained?”

The police officer darted in front of us and pulled out his Tazer pointing it at me telling me to stop where I was.  He told me to walk over to the back of his car which I did and he continued to question me and take my ID.  He asked me for my social security number and when I refused he threatened to spend hours dealing with me and to take me downtown.  I begrudgingly gave this stranger my SS number after being so threatened.  While he looked me up in his car two other officers berated me with questions.  One of the officers was very rude and spoke of his beliefs that human nature was full of evil.  He also believed that someone from Copwatch was probably the person that called them in the first place so that we could have another chance to “martyr” ourselves.  He got very heated trying to tell me all about how our few minutes of waiting outside of the Rite Aid for our friend was loitering since it was posted that we were not allowed.  Another officer came up later demanding that he be able to take my picture (to which I did not give consent) because they couldn’t find me in the system.

This being a rather abrupt and excessive use of force concerns me greatly.  This officer almost tazed me for not answering his questions quickly enough.  All of this harassment happened because he suspected I may be the person Rite Aid called the police on for smoking Cannabis.  I believe our presence as members of Copwatch greatly affected his choice to escalate force so quickly.” (more…)

Please read this article and sign the petition about the parking of cars on Richmond’s African Burial Ground by VCU. This is a dramatic example of institutionalized white privilege and racism. Imagine the public outcry if VCU built a parking lot on Hollywood Cemetery. Parking on sacred ground is not acceptable, and it has only gone on for so long due to historical and current white supremacy and racism which infect most institutions and capitalist ventures. The Wingnut Anarchist Collective stands in solidarity with everyone fighting to end this disrespectful and oppressive treatment of a historical and spiritual site.

End VCU/MCV Parking on Richmond’s African Burial Ground

by: Kenneth Yates x370724

A place called Shockoe Bottom in Richmond, Virginia was once the center of the African slave trade in North America. However if you were to visit this area you would never know it. Beneath the night clubs, condominiums, office buildings, and streets lies a history grossly repressed by capitalist appetites for commercial development.

One hidden piece of history in particular lies beneath a parking lot publicly owned and utilized by the Virginia Commonwealth University & Medical College of Virginia staff and students.

Photo by: Kenneth Yates

 In 1992 local historian and author Elizabeth Cann Kambourian, while researching for a book about a local slave rebellion leader named Gabriel, discovered something. Around 1800, inspired by the Haitian Revolution which was in full swing at the time, Gabriel plotted one of the most organized slave revolts in United States history. The plan was for hundreds of enslaved Africans, free Blacks and a few whites to to enter the city of Richmond, take the governor hostage and demand the abolition of slavery in Virginia. The revolt, however, was crushed after an intense 100 year storm flooded the area, making it impossible for Gabriel and his army to enter the city.

With information given by one of Gabriel’s collaborators, the then Richmond Governor James Monroe formed a militia to hunt down Gabriel and his co-conspirators. Gabriel was eventually captured, tried and, on Oct. 10, 1800, executed at the town gallows, located in what was then called the Burial Ground for Negroes. At least 25 of his comrades met the same fate, either at the same site or in surrounding areas.

The burial ground was retired sometime around 1810, after hundreds, perhaps thousands of enslaved Africans had been buried there. The exact number is unknown. Before long the burial ground itself fell into obscurity, eventually buried beneath 10-20 feet of filler as the land took on many other uses over the years.

Kambourian discovered an old Richmond City map placing the African Burial Ground just north of 15th & Broad Street. That area is now partially covered by Interstate 95, with the remaining portion of the Burial Ground buried beneath a parking lot utilized by both VCU & MCV staff and students. The exact boundaries are yet to be determined.

The Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality have been fighting to reclaim this sacred ground from its present desecration. (more…)