Richmond, Virginia police Chief Will Smith became emotional over the weekend during a press conference in which he discussed the second night of protests in the city.
Smith could not help but tear up as he talked about rioters setting fire to buildings that included a multi-family residence that was occupied by a child, according to NBC12. He explained that as firetrucks rushed to the scene, protesters blocked them from reaching the fire.
“Protesters intentionally set a fire to an occupied building on Broad Street. This is not the only occupied building that has been set fire to over the last two days. But they prohibited us from getting on scene,” Smith said. “We had to force our way to make a clear path for the fire department. Protestors intercepted that fire apparatus several blocks away with vehicles and blocked that fire department’s access to the structure fire. Inside that home was a child.”
Chief William C. Smith comments on a challenging situation during last night’s protests in #RVA. You can watch the rest of this @CityRichmondVA press conference here: https://t.co/jvzqcaRA3i pic.twitter.com/LCHrIIAeM2
— Richmond Police (@RichmondPolice) May 31, 2020
The seasoned police chief became noticeably choked up as he revealed that officers were eventually able to make their way into the residence to rescue the child and family. “Officers were able to help those people out of the house. We were able to get the fire department there safely,” he said before he paused for a second to regain his composure. ”When you take a legitimate issue and hijack it for unknown reasons, that is unacceptable to me. It’s unacceptable to the Richmond Police Department and it’s unacceptable to the City of Richmond.”
Riots have broken out all over the United States over the past few days in response to the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota last week. While Floyd’s death was a tragedy, it is no excuse for the violent riots that have ensued all over America in recent days. What just happened in Richmond should serve as a reminder to all that these riots have gone way too far, and that they need to end immediately.