Two men were detained by Virginia Capitol Police outside Thursday’s Veterans Day ceremony at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond.
A 60-year-old Glen Allen man parked his pickup truck in an area of 2nd Street, near the memorial, that was blocked off as a special parking zone, according to a Capitol Police spokesperson.
A sign in the bed of his truck displayed the uncensored phrase “F*** Biden.”
“[He] drove onto a sidewalk, around the barricades, and back onto 2nd into the prohibited area,” a Capitol Police spokesperson wrote in an email. “After he parked on 2nd in a spot that made his truck highly visible to the Veterans Day ceremony crowd, Capitol Police officers approached him and asked him to move.”
The truck driver, according to police, refused to move and questioned the officers’ authority.
“Because the ceremony was already underway and Capitol Police did not want to cause further distractions, officers decided to remain with [him] at his truck until the ceremony ended before taking additional actions,” the spokesperson’s email continued.
By that point, at least one person in the crowd had apparently seen enough.
A 58-year-old veteran from Chesterfield left the Veterans Day ceremony, climbed into the truck, and attempted to cover the sign with his jacket.
Officers removed the veteran from the truck and later issued him a summons for disorderly conduct.
The truck driver was later ticketed for parking in a tow-away zone.
“I applaud our officers for their attempts to get [the truck driver] to leave peacefully and respect the ceremony honoring our veterans,” Virginia Capitol Police Col. Anthony S. Pike said. “We take our role as peacekeepers seriously, and we try to de-escalate free speech matters whenever possible.”
Pike said officers “made every attempt” to de-escalate the situation without interrupting the ceremony.
“We are very sensitive to a person’s right to freely speak their mind, but when they will not work with our attempts to de-escalate matters, we are left with little choice,” he said.
Capitol Police would look into [the truck driver’s] actions and speak with the Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office about whether additional charges would be filed, he added.