Democrats street team burns Richmond Virginia
Richmond riots (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

On Saturday night, antifa rioters launched a "Richmond Stands with Portland" rally, reportedly circulating an online flyer that called for violence. A large mob converged on the Richmond Police Department (RPD) headquarters, setting fires and throwing rocks and other objects at police after having broken windows and wreaked havoc on the streets of Virginia's capital city. Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) claimed the riots caused more than $100,000 in damage.

"It is heartbreaking to see extensive damage at our Monroe Park Campus following a violent demonstration overnight in Richmond. About 80 windows were broken in a dozen buildings along with site furnishings dragged onto the street and damaged and numerous buildings tagged with graffiti. Damage is being assessed now, but it is expected to be more than $100,000," VCU President Michael Rao said in a statement, CBS 6 News Richmond reported.

Rao noted that both Richmond and VCU police said the rioters were different from "those participating in other peaceful demonstrations that occurred in Richmond over the last several weeks. The protest was promoted in social media and flyers to be destructive, ostensibly to support protests in Portland."

"We are concerned about groups that promote destruction and violence co-opting important social justice reform movements," the university president added. "VCU supports free speech and stands in solidarity with those peacefully expressing messages of social justice and equity for all people. VCU does not condone — under any circumstance — acts of violence or vandalism, regardless of the purported cause."

Unlike so many Democratic leaders, Rao seemed unafraid to denounce lawless and destructive rioters.

"Violence against people and deliberate destruction of property are contrary to the values of our community and will not be tolerated. VCU has asked the Commonwealth's Attorney to press criminal charges against any individuals involved," he added.

Rioters set a dump truck on fire near RPD headquarters, apparently intending to set the nearby building ablaze.

Rioters pelted police with rocks, batteries, and chunks of asphalt.

Virginia State Police released a video showing the antifa crowd massing across from the police station.

CBS 6 News reporter shared pictures of the damage and vandalism near VCU.

Richmond Police Chief Gerland Smith said police had "identified some individuals who have been seen with the Boogaloo boys and some Antifa groups around the area."

He mentioned an online flyer for the "Richmond Stands with Portland" riot, which reportedly called for violence.

Violent antifa riots have raged in Portland for 61 nights straight, often firing incendiary devices — and in one case, a bomb — at the federal courthouse. Democrats and left-leaning commentators have dismissed the violence of the riots, instead attempting to blame President Donald Trump for supposedly enflaming them by sending federal law enforcement to defend the courthouse. Some rioters have accused federal law enforcement of detaining them without probable cause, and the U.S. Attorney for Oregon directed the Department of Homeland Security to investigate those claims.

Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have condemned federal officials, calling them "stormtroopers." This led Attorney General William Barr to ask, exasperated, "Since when is it okay to burn down a federal court?!"

How hard would it be for Democrats to say what Michael Rao said?

"VCU supports free speech and stands in solidarity with those peacefully expressing messages of social justice and equity for all people. VCU does not condone — under any circumstance — acts of violence or vandalism, regardless of the purported cause," he said. "Violence against people and deliberate destruction of property are contrary to the values of our community and will not be tolerated."

Indeed, such violence and vandalism should be "contrary to the values" of all Americans, Democrats included. When will Democrats condemn the antifa riots?

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About the Author

Tyler O'Neil
Tyler O'Neil a conservative commentator, is Assistant Editor of PJ Media. He has written for numerous publications, including The Christian Post, National Review, The Washington Free Beacon, The Daily Signal, AEI's Values & Capitalism, and the Colson Center's Breakpoint.