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Man accused of bringing hatchet to city hall: ‘I didn’t threaten anybody’

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — A Richmond man has been banned from city hall after he demanded to see Mayor Dwight Jones, allegedly refused to leave and officials found a hatchet inside his bag.

Richmond police arrested Nathaniel Burwell Tuesday night and charged the 63-year-old with trespassing. Police said he never made any threatening actions or statements, but did leave a bag with a hatchet inside at the guard post after he entered city hall.

CBS 6 News’ Sandra Jones caught up with Burwell Wednesday as he was walking to his Chamberlayne Avenue apartment.

When asked about the trespassing charge, Burwell said that as a citizen and taxpayer, he can go to city hall anytime he wants.

“I told them to call the police. I told them I can’t go anywhere, call the police,” he said when asked if he told officials he wouldn’t leave until he saw the major.

This after Burwell showed up at the mayor’s office Tuesday evening asking for help with his Social Security benefits.

Burwell said that he went to the Social Security office on West Cary Street claiming he did not get his check. After getting no help, Burwell said he turned to city hall.

“No one could help me, so I asked for some help with transportation.” said Burwell, who said he has had no income this month or last month.

Burwell said a woman in the Mayor’s office told him Mayor Jones was not there. That’s when security was called to the second floor where they discovered a hatchet and carpentry tools in his brown bag.

Burwell, who said he is a retired carpenter, he did not threaten anyone.

“Well, you can imagine how that would look right? I mean you have a bag in your hand with a hatchet in it, and you’re asking to see the mayor,” Sandra Jones asked Burwell.

“No, it doesn’t look like anything….  I didn’t threaten anybody,” Burwell said.

“All I can say at this time is that the incident has raised some concerns about internal security protocols and the matter is still under review at this time,” said

Tammy Hawley, the mayor’s press secretary, said “the incident has raised some concerns about internal security protocols and the matter is still under review at this time.”

CBS 6 News spoke with several Richmond City Council members who declined to comment on what happened.

CBS 6 News learned Nathaniel Burwell has an extensive criminal background dating back to 2009 which includes: assault, disorderly conduct, public urination, obstruction of justice and a concealed weapons charge.

Burwell goes back to court on Nov. 5 at 9:30 a.m. to face the trespassing charge.

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