- Scott Elmquist
- Richmond police Maj. Steve Drew speaks with Occupy Richmond protesters in Ray Boone’s yard.
Occupy Richmond, the local roving extension of New York’s Occupy Wall Street protests, recently found a home on the front lawn of Mayor Dwight Jones’ neighbor, Richmond Free Press Publisher Ray Boone. Kicking the group out of its first encampment cost the city $17,640.
Protestors spent 15 days in October at Kanawha Plaza, a public park in the downtown financial district before police ousted them in the early morning hours of Oct. 31.
The total cost includes $10,843 for police overtime pay, $2,659 for park cleanup by the Department of Public Works and $416 for portable toilet rentals, according to records obtained by Style Weekly through a Freedom of Information Act request to the Richmond Police Department.
“It’s an unfortunate waste of taxpayer money,” says Will Carino, a member of Occupy Richmond’s media team. “We honestly feel that we had the right to be there, and it’s unfortunate that they city believes that show of force was necessary.”
The group’s protests at Monroe and Festival parks, which followed the Kanawha Plaza encampment, undoubtedly have added to the bill. A tally of those costs — as well as the expenses related to ongoing police presence at the group’s current encampment next door to the mayor — weren’t made available by press time.
As for the cost of Boone’s Thanksgiving dinner — he plans to feed the occupiers Thursday afternoon on his front lawn — well, that’s just priceless.