HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Police in Hampton are charging the organizers of a Black Lives Matter demonstration Friday night because they say the demonstrators did not comply with police orders to stay on the sidewalk and minimize the impact to traffic.
Police say they prepared for the evening’s protest — which was not a permitted or sanctioned event — by adding additional officers on duty to help keep protesters and the public safe. During the march, protesters walked down West Mercury Boulevard and ended up stopping and kneeling for several minutes at the intersection of Coliseum Drive. They then turned around and walked in the eastbound lanes of West Mercury Boulevard back toward their starting point at the old Kmart.
During the demonstration, multiple police cruisers and officers on bicycles rode alongside and ahead of those marching. The event ended just before 10 p.m.
Police say the march being in the roadway and blocking several lanes of traffic went against directions they had given organizers earlier.
“Once the organizer(s) arrived at the parking lot of 210 West Mercury Boulevard [Kmart], they were instructed to keep the crowd on the sidewalk for the duration of the event to ensure the safety of participants and to minimize the impact to vehicular traffic in the area,” police wrote in a news release.
The news release did not specify what charges are pending and against who in particular.
Charges are pending, meaning it’s unclear whether anyone has been arrested or served with warrant.