This morning shortly after 1 am, Richmond police raided Occupy Richmond at Kanawha Plaza. Horses, SWAT, fire trucks, the whole nine yards. There were no reported injuries, but nine people were arrested. The park is now closed, taped off with yellow caution tape and guarded by police. A General Assembly was scheduled for 11 am - about 10 minutes ago. I'm on my way there now.
I visited Kanawha about 7:50 this morning and spoke with several homeless people who were there during the raid. I also visited the office of the chief magistrate at Richmond Police Headquarters, stopped by Manchester Courthouse and just got off the phone with the Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney's office, trying to get information about those were arrested.
From what I've been told, nine people were arrested. All were charged with (1) refusing to leave property after being told to leave, a state Class One misdemeanor that carries up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine; and (2) being in a public park after dark, a violation of the City Code.
I was told by a sheriff's deputy that the nine arrested people were arraigned before a magistrate this morning by videoconference while they were still in the police lock-up on 9th Street. Four were released on personal recognizance, five were held without bond, evidently because they indicated, or the magistrate concluded, that they intended to go back to the park.
The only two people I know for sure who were arrested and held without bond are Sur Williams and Farid Alan Schintzius, both of whom have played selfless roles in the occupation. Alan's court date is set for Nov. 29, which may be the same date for all five who are still being held.
The five who are still detained will likely be moved to the City Jail this morning.
This information will go out today at noon on the DefendersLIVE! radio program on WRIR radio, 97.3 FM (www.wrir.org). I'll also be speaking tomorrow from noon to 1 pm on WCLM, 1450 am (www.wclmradioonline.com) and will pass along any new information we receive and can verify.
There was supposed to be a general assembly today at Kanawah at 11 am. I'll stop by to see if that's still happening.
If anyone has any new information, I would appreciate your calling or e-mailing me at (804) 644-5834 or DefendersFJE@hotmail.com. The Defenders will do all we can to support those who have been arrested, as well as Occupy Richmond as a whole.