RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Two detectives have been charged after Richmond’s top prosecutor says she has presented 18 sealed indictments to a grand jury “concerning the actions of certain Richmond Police Department officers during the protests that occurred this summer.”

On Monday, Oct. 5, Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin declared it was now up to a grand jury to determine whether there is probable cause to proceed with the charges. Later in the day, the grand jury returned 16 indictments as “not a true bill.”

Two indictments were returned against two officers:

  • Christopher Brown, a detective with the department since 2014, charged with misdemeanor assault and battery
Officer Christopher Brown. (Photo: Courtesy Richmond Police’s Facebook)
  • Mike Janowski – a detective with the department since 2015, charged with misdemeanor assault and battery
Officer Mike Janowski. (Photo: Courtesy Richmond Police Department)

“These events are unfortunate,” said Chief Gerald Smith in an emailed statement. “However, we must allow the legal process to work. The officers will be placed on administrative assignment until a verdict is reached.”

Following the initial news that McEachin presented sealed indictments to a grand jury, WFXR’s sister station reached out to the CA’s office for clarity. When asked what prompted the grand jury, McEachin stated that the regular grand jury meets on the first Monday of every month.

“This is not a special grand jury, so nothing prompted ‘forming’ it,’” she told WFXR’s sister station.

McEachin adds that the proper legal word is “presented,” not “recommended,” when referring to the indictments sent to the grand jury.

“Because the indictments are sealed, no further information can be provided until they have been served,” McEachin stated.

Protesters have spoken out against police use of tear gas, flash bangs, and more after protests and riots began in Richmond late May, following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Earlier this summer, McEachin responded to complaints against Richmond police amid the unrest.

In July, her office cleared RPD of wrongdoing after reviewing five civil complaints. The probe included whether an officer deliberately drove their vehicle through a crowd of protestors in June, whether an officer spat on a protester and if an officer painted themself in blackface.

WFXR’s sister station reached out to Richmond Police Department for further comment.

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