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Richmond Police Chief urges folks not to jump on Ferguson bandwagon

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RICHMOND, Va. – Richmond Police Chief Al Durham held a press conference to address an investigation into the use of force after an officer shot a man in the abdomen on Wednesday, April 1.

It appeared that a video shot from the second floor of the Richmond Inn & Suites in the 6300 block of Midlothian Turnpike hit social media and generated public outcry. A person overheard in the video claimed that police shot an unarmed man, though surveillance video later showed the suspect running behind the building carrying a gun. A gun was recovered from the scene.

gun surveillance

The man in the video is Roderick Darrell Hardy, 29. He was also filmed lying on the ground with a bullet wound in his abdomen, whiled police administered aid until emergency responders arrived on the scene.

Police wanted to question Hardy after they saw him involved in a “hand-to-hand exchange” near the hotel. The chief said the motel is a haven for drug crime and prostitution; in the last four year there have been 22 violent crimes, five shootings, 27 prostitution calls and more than 156 suspicious incident calls.

 

“We had officers patrolling the area," Durham said. "They were conducting an investigation; an individual took off from them running. That individual fell down. At which time, while regaining his footing, he reached into his waistband and pointed a weapon toward the direction of our officers,” the chief said.

The police chief urged the public to let the investigation takes its course and promised that he would share the results with the community.

“We have had folks that have made threats to our officers, and I tell you I will not tolerate that,” Durham said. “Our officers are here doing a tremendous job protecting and safeguarding this community.”

“And sometimes folks can’t understand that these types of situations happen where officers have to defend themselves or others, that is very important,” Durham said, and he referenced a recent call for a suspicious incident, to the same motel, when two officers that were fired upon.

“Again on the scene, the initial video that was put out on Facebook and Youtube was saying that my officer shot an unarmed man. Later on, through the media, it released that you had a video of this individual running with a firearm in his hand. And again – you have to wait until everything is said and done,” Durham said.

“I think today as a society, with so much access to social media, folks just want to jump on a bandwagon just to say I’m part of a cause --well what is that cause?” Durham said.

“You end up harming the reputation of the police department and that officer or officers who are out there to serve and protect,” he added.

Hardy, 29, was charged with assault on a law enforcement officer and possession of a weapon by a violent felon, both crimes are considered felonies. He was also charged with misdemeanor brandishing a firearm.

Roderick Hardy (PHOTO: Virginia Sex Offender Registry)

Roderick Hardy (PHOTO: Virginia Sex Offender Registry)

Hardy, who appears on the Virginia Sex Offender registry, was convicted in 2005 of having carnal knowledge of a child between 13 – 15 years old. Hardy would have been around 19 at the time of the conviction. He was twice convicted of failing to register as a sex offender, but most recently re-registered as a sex offender on March 2.

“As I stated yesterday I think it’s very important that we let this investigation take its course,” the chief said. “If Ferguson has taught us nothing, it’s that what folks initially see is not what ends up happening after the initial investigation has been completed.“

Durham said the police will be speaking with council president Michelle Mosby and other government officials to working to do everything they can to address the problems surrounding that area. he majority of the calls for the third precinct start right there at that site. And that’s unacceptable, enough is enough.

"The majority of the calls for the third precinct start right there at that site," he said. "And that’s unacceptable, enough is enough."