While the tug of war between the city and Richmond Free Press Publisher Ray Boone’s “special guests” continues, there’s increasing clarity over just how much is being spent to police the Occupy Richmond protests.
According to figures obtained from the Virginia State Police, the tab for deploying state troopers to police the Occupy Richmond protests at Kanawha Plaza, and later at Festival Park, cost $13,314 in overtime pay.
A state police spokeswoman could not say exactly how many troopers were involved in operations related to the protests. But on the night of Nov. 9, dozens of state troopers were visible standing on the sidewalks surrounding Festival Park downtown, near the Richmond Coliseum. The $13,314 is in addition to at least $17,640 the city has spent policing the protests since early October, including park cleanup and portable toilet rentals.
Meanwhile, at Boone’s home in south Richmond, Richmond Police continue to monitor the protestors’ encampment on the lawn next door to the home of Mayor Dwight Jones. On Wednesday, police were called out to investigate an incident on Beddington Road, in the cul-de-sac that includes the shared driveway of Boone and Jones. A neighbor of Boone’s was attempting to block the occupiers from using a gravel driveway, and two of the protestors were nearly “run down” by a neighbor, Boone told Style. There were no charges filed.
Also, earlier this week the city served Boone with an order to remove the encampment, citing zoning violations, from his property by Dec. 22.
Will Carino, a member of the group’s media team, says that the group’s struggles with the city are just a temporary, albeit important. “The main [focus] right now is establishing ourselves in Richmond,” he says, noting that the group was much “quieter” while at Kanawha Plaza.
In the meantime, Boone and the occupiers plan to fight the city’s zoning citations. Boone has 30 days in which to file an appeal with the Board of Zoning Appeals.