After signing the petition I got a form response back from someone in the Mayor’s office:
Mayor Jones is in receipt of your concern regarding the Richmond May Day Parade. The Mayor has asked that I respond regarding your concerns. The Richmond Police Department advises that a permit has been issued allowing the parade to proceed on sidewalks, grass, and other public property (absent in the roadways) at no cost.
For safety reasons, a parade which requires that streets be closed also requires that officers be deployed. Our policy requires that the cost of officers (two are needed for this event) must be borne by the parade organizers. The organizers of the event have indicated they do not want to pay for the officers; therefore we are unable to close the streets. We must be concerned first and foremost for the safety of everyone.
Cheryl Ivey Green
Assistant to the Mayor
City of Richmond
900 E. Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Building a Better Richmond
So I replied back- to inform her of some of the other relevant details in this issue:
Would you please inform Mayor Jones that there is not mention in the relevant city ordinance that parades in the street require purchase of officers. And also that there have been multiple assemblies in the streets in Richmond in the past years, including the Virginia People’s Assembly this January which had permits for a street march but were NOT required or even asked to pay for police presence.
I strongly believe that the decision on the part of the Richmond Police to ask for money in this instance is a deliberate one meant to silence the free speech of the worker’s movement in Richmond.