|Stafford Sheriff’s Office Declares Unlawful Assembly during Sunday Protest|
|By Public Information Officer Amanda Vicinanzo|
|June 1, 2020|
Stafford VA. The Stafford County Sheriff’s office declared an unlawful assembly in the area of Garrisonville Road and Stafford Marketplace on Sunday after a protest became unruly and protestors began throwing objects at vehicles.
The demonstration began on May 31, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. with a peaceful gathering of approximately 150 people in front of the Stafford Marketplace Target. About an hour later, the crowds began to disperse with the exception of about 50 to 75 people. The remaining protestors began marching around Stafford Marketplace and up and down Garrisonville Road for several hours.
At approximately 6:45 p.m., the protestors formed a line across Garrisonville Road, blocking all lanes of traffic. They threw items—including water bottles, rocks, and salsa jars—at passing vehicles. As the protest became unruly, an unlawful assembly was declared and the crowds were given the opportunity to disperse peacefully.
During this time, part of Garrisonville Road was shut down as deputies attempted to regain control of the crowds. Items were thrown at deputies on the scene and pepper spray was used to make several arrests.
In total, 10 arrests were made and charges include unlawful assembly, obstructing justice, assault and battery on a law enforcement officer, possession of a firearm during a protest, and pedestrian in the roadway.
“We fully support the right of our community to peacefully protest without police interference and will continue to do so,” said Sheriff David P. Decatur. “In the days ahead, we ask that protestors remain peaceful and refrain from violence and blocking traffic. The safety of the community is our priority.”