Thirteen protesters have been sentenced to five days in jail for illegally blocking traffic on Interstate 95 in Richmond during a Black Lives Matter protest in July.
All 13 demonstrators pleaded guilty Monday afternoon in Richmond General District Court as part of a plea agreement.
While the judge allowed some to report to jail in December — at least one woman was granted a delay because she has upcoming college exams — others were immediately escorted off by sheriff’s deputies to begin serving jail time.
“It was rush hour. They put themselves in danger, and they put other people potentially in danger, so we thought that five days in jail was an appropriate punishment,” said Richmond Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Davis Powell, the prosecutor in the cases.
Powell said in an interview afterward that the defendants’ behavior was “rather irresponsible,” adding that while demonstrators have the right to protest peacefully, “stopping rush-hour traffic is an entirely different thing. ... We thought that warranted punishment.”