On June 1, 2020, thousands of protesters in Richmond, Virginia, gathered for a march that began at Monroe Park around 5pm and traveled to the state capitol building before parking at Monument Avenue — home at the time to the largest Confederate monument in the South. That summer, the equestrian statue of General Robert E. Lee, covered with vividly graffitied slogans, was transformed into an icon of anti-racist activism and resistance. With no warning, 20 minutes before an 8pm curfew, peaceful protesters were sprayed with pepper spray and tear gas.
That same day, the Richmond Police Department (RPD) apologized to peaceful protesters in a tweet, adding by way of explanation, “Some RPD officers in that area were cut off by violent protestors. The gas was necessary to get them to safety.”
But in an explicit admission of wrongdoing, the RPD retracted that tweet from two years prior, calling it “false.” “There were no RPD officers cut off by violent protesters at the Lee Monument. There was no need for gas at Lee Monument to get RPD officers to safety,” the police department said in a statement issued last Friday, July 1, revising its initial account.
RPD made it clear that its apology was part of a legal agreement that marks the conclusion of a lawsuit lodged by six protesters who were tear-gassed by police officers. The lawsuit alleged that police “used intentional, unjustified, and inexcusable force and threats of force to disperse citizens.” It further documented the injuries that plaintiffs suffered from the needless use of force: temporary blindness, respiratory difficulties, and burning sensations that afflicted their skin, eyes, mouth, and lungs.
At a city hall after the tear-gassing incidents in 2020, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and Police Chief William Smith apologized for the event, acknowledging that the city had violated demonstrators’ rights. By the end of the month, Chief Smith resigned from his post. But the newly finalized settlement goes beyond a simple apology: In addition to demanding that RPD publicly correct the record of what happened on the night of June 1, the settlement orders RPD to turn over records of the event — including bodycam footage, police radio recordings, and officers’ oral narratives — to the Virginia state library. Although the agreement was announced in February 2022, details about it were not publicly released until July 1.
An analysis conducted by the New York Times in June 2020 revealed that over 100 American cities deployed tear gas on citizens during Black Lives Matter protests — the most widespread use of tear gas since the early ’70s. Though law enforcement agencies have offered reassurances that tear gas is nonlethal, research has indicated that its use may lead to serious injuries and even death.
The Lee statue and a statue of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson are among the Confederate symbols that have been removed from Richmond’s Monument Avenue as a result of sustained activism over the last two years.
Arriving amid increased anti-Asian racism and continuing discourse about the inhumanity of its prison system, this documentary is a strong historical gut punch.
A “show within a show” at the Whitney Biennial pays homage to the visual and literary art of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, whose life was cut short through an act of brutal violence.
The Brooklyn organization is now accepting new project inquiries for its fee-based fabrication services in printmaking, ceramics, and large-scale public art.
Social media persona Sad Beige Werner Herzog presents a seemingly endless array of sniffling tots stuffed into gray, brown, and tan knits.
A new Bronx location for the Universal Hip Hop Museum is set to open its doors in 2024.
The Newark Museum of Art Presents Jazz Greats: Classic Photographs from the Bank of America Collection
Photographers Antony Armstrong Jones, Milt Hinton, Chuck Stewart, Barbara Morgan, and more capture a breadth of legendary and local musicians and performance artists. On view through August 21.
Researchers at the University of South Florida have created a tool that can potentially help hone human concentration through the creation of art with only the power of the mind.
The settlement comes after Tate prevented an artist who exposed sexual harassment by one of its largest donors from co-curating an exhibition.
Art and photographs, publications from the 19th and 20th centuries, manuscripts, posters and more are set to cross the auction block on August 18.
Let’s be honest: On a best bathrooms list, no one wants to be number two.
Advocacy groups are pushing for a 5% royalty in resales, which would pertain even after the artist dies, in which case the funds would go to their estate.
This week, the Getty Museum is returning ancient terracottas to Italy, parsing an antisemitic mural at Documenta, an ancient gold find in Denmark, a new puritanism, slavery in early Christianity, and much more.