As civil unrest spread through the city of Richmond, Virginia, over the weekend, police and firefighters had to work together to rescue a child trapped in a burning building. Richmond Police Chief Will Smith had to pause to gather his emotions as he described the scene where a group of rioters tried to stop a fire truck from responding to the burning building.
"Protesters intentionally set fire to an occupied building on Broad Street. This is not the only occupied building that has been set fire to over the last two days. But they prohibited us from getting on scene," Smith said.
Some of the protesters used their cars to block the streets, forcing the police to move in and clear a path for the fire truck. Luckily, officers managed to get the house and rescue the people trapped inside.
"Officers were able to help those people out of the house. We were able to get the fire department there safely," he explained. "When you take a legitimate issue and hijack it for unknown reasons, that is unacceptable to me. It's unacceptable to the Richmond Police Department and unacceptable to the City of Richmond."
Smith said that many of the violent protesters were from out of town and promised to identify them and bring them to justice.
"We have people from across the country who have traveled many states to be here. We know that this is an organized effort," Chief Smith said. "We're committed to try and identify those that are behind it. And we're doing our very level best to arrest those that are perpetrating the violence on our community, our city, and against our citizens."