LYNCHBURG, Va. – A Lynchburg man was convicted Monday afternoon on a number of offenses for his actions during the riots that started outside the restaurant, Fifth and Federal, in May 2020.
As we reported back in June 2020, demonstrations started outside the restaurant that supported a tweet from Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. that showed a picture of a face mask with the blackface photo from Gov. Northam’s yearbook page on it. Demonstrations were originally focused on the restaurant’s response to Falwell’s tweet but then shifted to George Floyd and the treatment of African Americans.
Demetre Wade, 26, was found guilty on all charges but one, including two counts of felony destruction of property and participating in a riot.
He was also charged with the assault of an officer but was found not guilty. More than 20 people have been tried for their actions during the May 31 riots.
The commonwealth’s attorney says reviewing video evidence can be challenging, but it’s important to hold people responsible for the crimes they commit in the community. The trial by the judge lasted more than four hours.
“Protest is a constitutionally protected right and ability, but what you can’t do is go and commit crimes to further your cause,” Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Lynchburg Bethany Harrison says. “All people remember at the end of the day is that you committed a crime. People don’t remember the basis of your cause and it doesn’t really do you any good.”
Wade’s sentencing is set for Feb. 2 at 1:30 p.m.