Rioters Set Home on Fire with Child Inside, Block Firefighter Access
Emotional police chief details incident of family trapped inside burning building
Violent rioters reportedly set fire to a home while the family, including a child, was trapped inside, according to Richmond Police Chief Will Smith.
On Saturday, Chief Smith was overcome with emotion during a press conference while detailing one of the worst acts of violence carried out in the city.
According to Smith, "protesters" set fire to an occupied multi-family residence during Friday night’s rioting, then repeatedly blocked firefighters’ access to the scene, ostensibly over the death of George Floyd.
Thankfully, officers were able to find a way to secure access and managed to save the family, including the child.
“One incident that is particularly poignant, that truly illustrates the seriousness of the issues we’re facing,” the visibly emotional police chief told reporters.
“Protesters intentionally set a fire to an occupied building on [West] Broad Street."
"This is not the only occupied building that has been set fire to in the last two days,” the police chief continued.
“They prohibited us from getting on scene.
“We had to force our way to make a clear path for the fire department.”
“Protesters intercepted that fire apparatus several blocks away with vehicles and blocked that fire department’s access to the structure fire,” Smith said.
“Inside that home was a child.”
“Officers were able to –,” Smith said as he attempted to continue but was overcome with emotion, “- help those people out of the house.”
“We were able to get the fire department there safely,” Chief Smith added.
“When you take a legitimate issue and hijack it for unknown reasons, that is unacceptable to me,” Smith declared.
“It’s unacceptable to the Richmond Police Department, unacceptable to the city of Richmond.”
Protests began emerging across the nation on Tuesday in response to the death of Floyd.
Viral video footage revealed that Mr. Floyd, a black man, died after a police officer had his knee on the 46-year-old’s neck for over eight minutes during an arrest.
“An eight-minute clip filmed by a person on the street shows Floyd telling police he can’t breathe and begging the cop on top of him to stop before he falls unconscious,” The Daily Wire reported Tuesday.
“Officer Derek Chauvin was identified as the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck outside Cup Foods on Chicago Avenue and East 38th Street.”
“He’s not even resisting arrest right now, bro,” one bystander is heard telling the officers, according to the video.
“You’re f***ing stopping his breathing right now, you think that’s cool?”
The protests quickly escalated into rioting, with arson, looting, and violence spiking in cities such as Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York City, Rochester, Richmond, and other places nationwide.
All four officers involved in the arrest have been fired since the incident.
Investigations from the FBI and state law enforcement have been opened.
On Friday, the officer at the center of the incident was arrested on murder and manslaughter charges.
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