Peoria Police puts officers back on job, demonstrators demand accountability

Protestors call for justice in the aftermath of the killings of Samuel Vincent Richmond by...
Protestors call for justice in the aftermath of the killings of Samuel Vincent Richmond by Peoria Police. Richmond was shot and killed after a chase last October.(WEEK)
Published: Feb. 5, 2023 at 8:53 PM CST
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PEORIA (25 News Now) - Demonstrators are calling for justice in the names of black men killed by police, both locally and nationally. Their demand: accountability for those who committed the acts as they return to work.

Participants gathered to protest the deaths of Samuel Vincent Richmond in Peoria, as well as Tyre Nichols in Memphis, at the hands of law enforcement.

Nichols was beaten after police stopped him for an alleged traffic violation. Video released after pressure from Nichols’ family shows officers holding him down and repeatedly punching, kicking and striking him. He would pass away in a hospital days later from the injuries.

Richmond was killed during an officer involved shooting with Peoria Police after a chase in Martin Luther King Jr. Park last October. During a press conference two months later, Chief Eric Echevarria says Richmond was armed with a firearm and put officers in a life-threatening situation.

According to a Peoria police spokesperson, all four officers involved are on ‘critical incident leave,’ working in ‘non-public facing’ administrative duties on the payroll. Organizers of the demonstration say the gathering acts as a call for community control, which wouldn’t allow the officers to return to work under typical circumstances.

“They should not be back at their job, making money,” says organizer Rin Fuller. “They murdered someone. If it was anyone else, they would not be at their job right now.”

During a press conference in December, Echevarria said officers shot Richmond, approached him, placed handcuffs on him, and then began performing CPR. When asked about protocol or if the chief believed his officers acted properly, he wouldn’t say. But he did emphasize multiple times that the body cam footage shows Richmond pointing a gun at “his” officers.

For participants, a lack of transparency throughout the investigation has become troublesome.

“Instead of locking it behind closed doors, us not knowing what’s going on, tell us. We have a right,” adds Fuller.

State police are still investigating the shooting. In a press release Friday, Echevarria says that the department is “dedicated to openness and transparency” during the investigation.

The Peoria Police Department released body camera footage of the incident. You can read more about it, as well as their response, by clicking here. All the body cam videos from the incident, 911 calls, and dispatch recordings are available on the offical Peoria city website here.