Just before 6 p.m. on Monday, July 18 traffic came to a stand still on I-95. Just south of Belvidere Street exit, approximately 30 protesters planted their feet on the highway in a Black Lives Matter demonstration. “White silence is violence,” was written across a sign protesters held aloft.
Similar protests have been held almost daily nationwide after the shooting deaths of Baton Rouge, Louisiana man Alton Sterling and St. Paul, Minnesota resident Philando Castile, both at the hands of police officers. The subsequent killing of five police officers in Dallas after a Black Lives Matter rally, and the killing of three Baton Rouge officers, has only added to the unrest. On July 8, Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham commented on the shootings in Texas, Louisiana and Minnesota, urging the community to have patience as the investigations unfolded.
On Monday, after two warnings by the police, 13 of the 30 protesters were handcuffed after refusing to step off of the interstate and were charged with being pedestrians on a highway and for participating in unlawful assembly, according to a news release by Sergeant Stephan Vick of the Virginia State Police.
Though a handful was arrested, the protesters shouts of “Black live matter!” still rang through the air until the group dispersed.
Freelance photographer Jay Paul was caught in the traffic jam, and captured these powerful images with his camera.
1 of 4
"When protesters began walking into the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 at Exit 75 Monday at approximately 5:45 p.m., state troopers immediately responded for the safety of motorists and pedestrians alike," reads a news release from Sergeant Stephan Vick of the Virginia State Police. (Photo by Jay Paul)
2 of 4
(Photo by Jay Paul)
3 of 4
Monday afternoon's Black Lives Matter protest resulted in a big backup on Interstate 95 south, right after the Belvidere exit. (Photo by Jay Paul)
4 of 4
Richmond Police Department officers during the protest. (Photo by Jay Paul)