The Latest: Statue of Gen. Wickham toppled in Richmond
TOP OF THE HOUR:
— Statue of Confederate Gen. Wickham toppled in Richmond, Virginia
— Police use flash bang devices, pepper spray to disperse Seattle protesters
— Mayor of Portland, Oregon, orders police not to use CS gas except as last resort
RICHMOND, Va. — In the former capital of the Confederacy, demonstrators toppled a statue of Gen. Williams Carter Wickham from its pedestal after a day of mostly peaceful demonstrations across the commonwealth.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that most of the demonstrators had already dispersed when a rope was tied around the Confederate statue, which has stood since 1891 in Richmond’s Monroe Park, which is surrounded by the Virginia Commonwealth University campus. In 2017, some of Wickham’s descendants urged the city to remove the statue.
A Richmond police spokeswoman didn’t know if there were any arrests and the extent of any damage.
Confederate monuments are a major flashpoint in Virginia. Last week, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that a state-owned statue of former Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee would be removed from its perch on the famed Monument Avenue “as soon as possible.”
SEATTLE — Police used flash bang devices and pepper spray to disperse a crowd of protesters in Seattle on Saturday night, the ninth consecutive day of George Floyd protests in the city.
The mayhem in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood followed a large, peaceful demonstration earlier in the day with medical workers demonstrating against racism and police brutality. It also came a day after Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best imposed a 30-day moratorium on the department’s use of one kind of tear gas.
KING-TV reports that a small group of protesters started throwing objects at officers about 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Police ordered the crowd to move, then used incendiary devices.
After police were severely criticized by protesters and public officials alike for using tear gas and pepper spray to disperse largely peaceful crowds, Durkan and Best said Friday outside groups would review and update crowd-control policies, including the use of pepper spray and deadly force techniques such as neck and choke holds. She and the mayor added that the ban on one kind of tear gas known as CS could be extended if groups need more time for policy review.
PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has ordered the city’s police not to use a type of tear gas except as a last resort in life-threatening situations.
Wheeler issued a statement Saturday saying he shares community concerns about the use of CS gas, especially during a respiratory-illness pandemic.
Critics have called on the Portland Police Bureau to permanently ban the use of CS gas on protesters.
The announcement came a day after the mayor said police would no longer use a “long-range acoustical device,” or LRAD, to disperse protesters. The device can emit high-pitched, loud frequencies and can cause hearing damage.
ATLANTA — Protests downtown assumed an almost festive feel at times on Saturday, with Atlanta’s curfew lifted and police and National Guard presence somewhat out of view.
A group of black college band alumni were serenading one main protest area with a tuba-heavy mix of tunes from atop a parking garage.
Students from historically black colleges and other young people marched to City Hall to demand more action on police violence. Jauan Durbin said he began organizing protests after two fellow college students were pulled from their car and shocked with a stun gun last Saturday by police in downtown Atlanta. The incident was caught on video by WGCL-TV and six officers were fired and then criminally charged.
Durbin said youth protesters are calling for increased financial assistance for black businesses from Atlanta’s city government and increased funding for the city’s public school system.
Follow more AP stories on the George Floyd protests and reaction at https://apnews.com/GeorgeFloyd