UPDATE 8:24 a.m.: The owner of Fifth and Federal Station apologized for Wednesday’s controversial tweet that sparked a destructive protest in Lynchburg Sunday night.
For more updates on this story, follow this link.
UPDATE 4:18 A.M.: Several Lynchburg Police Department officers are injured and two people were arrested after protests turned violent Sunday into Monday morning.
According to the Lynchburg Police Department, officers got a call of a disorderly crowd blocking the roadway at Fifth and Federal Street at 9:12 p.m. on Sunday, May 31. When they got there, protesters began throwing rocks and assaulting them. Several officers were injured and one was even taken to the hospital.
Throughout the night, protesters continued to damage property along Fifth Street, as well as police cars. Members of the police department ordered the crowd to disperse several times.
Due to the unlawful activity, 33-year-old Brian Lamont Davis of Campbell County was charged with throwing an object at an occupied building as well as unlawful assembly, police say.
The crowd did not disperse and continued to damage property, after which officers used a chemical agent to disperse the crowd. Several people moved to the intersection of 12th and Church Streets, where the ABC store was also vandalized.
Another person was taken into custody in the area of 12th and Church Streets, police say. WFXR News is still waiting on the arrest information.
“The LPD respects the right to peacefully protest. When those protests turn violent and threaten the safety of our community, we must take action, as we did tonight,” the department stated in a news release on Monday, June 1. “Failing to take action would threaten the safety of the peaceful protesters, the uninvolved public, and our officers.”
This is an ongoing investigation.
UPDATE 2:20 A.M.: The Lynchburg Police Department Public Information Officer Carrie Dungan gave an update on Sunday night’s events.
She says one person was arrested. She adds officers had rocks and bottles thrown at them. One officer took a rock to the chin that sent him to the hospital.
There is no word on any civilian injuries.
UPDATE 1:11 A.M.: The Lynchburg Police Department is now deploying smoke to disperse the protesters in the area.
UPDATE 1:00 A.M.: Lynchburg Police are now warning protesters to leave the area or they will be arrested.
State Police have also arrived on scene at Fifth and Federal.
There is still a significant crowd at the scene.
UPDATE 11:59 p.m.: Lynchburg Police warn the community to stay away from Fifth and Federal.
Police report property damage and say the protest is ongoing.
LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — A group of protesters has gathered at Fifth and Federal in Lynchburg following a controversial reply to a blackface tweet earlier this week.
Over 100 people are currently outside the building, protesting the issue of “Black Lives Matter” vs. “All Lives Matter” that sparked from a reply to a tweet that Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. posted earlier this week.
Falwell’s tweet expressed his opposition to the governor’s mandate for all Virginia citizens to wear masks in public places.
Falwell responded, “I will reluctantly comply, but only if this picture of Governor Blackface himself is on it”, sharing a picture of the blackface yearbook photo that sparked controversy last year.
In response to the tweet, Fifth and Federal replied, “If you get extra made let us know! We would offer them to our staff as a mask option!”
WFXR’s Santiago Melli-Huber was on scene where the group is chanting “Cancel Fifth and Federal.”
Owner Josh Read declined to comment, but said he would later send a statement.
Pastor Jacqueline Clark of Kingdom Power Worship Center joined the protesters and led them in a prayer.