Downtown Winchester quiet following protests; investigation concludes no city police fired a weapon
Clay Dubberly, Editor-in-Chief
All reports from the Facebook page “Justice for D’Londre” which said a protest would be taking place at 4:30 p.m. today, March 1, proved to be incorrect.
D’Londre Minifield died yesterday after fleeing police officers; the Winchester Police Department claim that D’Londre had a weapon and shot himself. Officers didn’t specify whether it was intentional or not.
Downtown Winchester was quiet, with Kent Street entrances/exits near the George Washington and Court Square autoparks and the Rouss City Hall closed by 3:30 p.m. Other nearby roads were blocked as well.
The only way to reach the downtown Winchester walking mall was by foot.
At least two dozen WPD officers were guarding the Judicial Center, Winchester Virginia’s General District Court.
One officer said that he had been in the office most of the day, but when he went outside the town was still quiet.
Yesterday, Feb. 29 there was a protest that more than 150 people attended. While some sources said that the protest was peaceful, others reported that people were boxing cars in that attempted to drive by, and others reported seeing people armed with baseball bats.
Amy Simmons, city communications manager, said the city is treating the gathering as a “spontaneous event” since no permit was requested or issued.
The Virginia State Police conducted an investigation and concluded that D’Londre was not shot by a WPD officer.
The City of Winchester released a statement today saying that “Virginia State Police and Commonwealth of Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Manassas continues to work this case as a suicide and confirmed that no Winchester Police Department officer’s firearm was discharged during the incident on Sunday.”
Minifield was wanted for two counts of felony robbery with a gun, one count felony weapons offense, one felony weapons charge, and one simple assault.
Editor’s note: Several Shenandoah University students reported seeing people gathering near downtown Winchester later, around 8:00 p.m., to protest. According to a press release by the City of Winchester, at around 5:00 p.m. a group of around 50 gathered at Timbrook for a demonstration involving the death of Minifield. Officers followed the group until 8:30 p.m. before the group dispersed.
Feature photo courtesy of Justice for D’Londre Facebook page