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Virginia police accused of seizing only Black protesters' firearms at pro-gun event

Virginia police accused of seizing only Black protesters' firearms at pro-gun event

Black protesters have accused Richmond, Va., police of a double standard after the force allegedly confiscated two of their guns Monday even as white protesters boasted of defying local gun ordinances, Reuters reported.

Residents of Richmond typically descend on the Virginia state Capitol for its annual “Lobby Day,” including a large number of gun rights activists.

Police allegedly stopped a car carrying Black activists while armed white activists in trucks and on foot were not similarly waylaid, according to Reuters. The news source reported that it witnessed the stop.

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A white member of the anti-government “boogaloo” movement touted his group's flouting of local gun and ammunition laws about an hour before the stop.

The member, Mike Dunn, said through a megaphone that his group’s semiautomatic rifles were carried “in open defiance” of local ordinances, as were their ammunition magazines of “double the legal limit.” Richmond law allows police to prohibit open-carry at large events, but police took no such action in the vast majority of cases Monday, according to the news service.

One of the Black men stopped accused the cops of a double standard, as did a Black woman present at the scene of the stop, who shouted “everybody in the city is carrying today and you’re only pulling us over,” according to the news service.

The city was on high alert Monday following deadly riots that occurred on Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C., when a pro-Trump mob breached the U.S. Capitol. Richmond is about a two hour drive from Washington.

However, the armed crowd was small compared with both the Washington mob and last year’s Lobby Day, when the group numbered about 22,000 people. The 2020 Lobby Day was itself incident-free despite security concerns.

Richmond, the one-time capital of the Confederacy, also garnered national attention as Black Lives Matter protests swept the nation last year. The graffitied statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on the city’s Monument Avenue became a nationally recognized symbol of the movement.

The Hill has reached out to the Richmond Police Department for comment.