Democratic Mayor Levar Stoney of Richmond, Virginia accepted Police Chief Will Smith’s resignation after violence broke out during protests in the city following the death of George Floyd.
The Richmond Police Department is currently investigating an incident involving an officer driving an SUV into protestors blocking his path to the Robert E. Lee statue, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
In a police statement, Smith said that officers will be held accountable but he would not “allow violent protest to continue to harm our community”. Smith also said that officers showed “great restraint” after facing actions that “far exceeded what is considered to be lawful”.
On the Tuesday following the incident, Mayor Stoney said during a press conference that he asked for Smith’s resignation, which Smith accepted. However, the mayor also commented on Smith’s time in the department, saying he “poured his heart and soul into service” and that the city “thank[s] him”.
Mayor Stoney also asked the police department “to be able to come to the table with the community to reform and reimagine public safety”. Stoney added that it “boils down to whether the leadership of the [police department] embraces the change or stands in the way”.
Maj. Jody Blackwell will serve as interim police chief until a permanent replacement is found.
According to ABC8 News, protestors swarmed Mayor Stoney’s apartment Tuesday evening. “WYA Stoney” and “Stoney is a sellout” can be seen in images of the graffiti.