NORFOLK, Va.— Dozens of people have been arrested during the uprising of protests across Hampton Roads. Now, a local lawyer says he’s going to fight their charges because they’re fighting for his life.
On the top floor of the Dominion Tower in downtown Norfolk, Steven L. Washington is meeting with several new clients he’s representing free of charge.
Several people like Justin Boehme are taking Washington up on his offer of free legal help to anyone arrested during local protests.
Boehme says he was one of 19 protesters police reportedly arrested at the Oceanfront Sunday night.
“About 15 cop cars just showed up out of nowhere around 8:45, and they just came out in full riot gear - like shields, guns drawn like mace ready,” explained Boehme.
Boehme says he was walking away from the protest at the instruction of police when he encountered a second group of officers who told him he was under arrest.
The 19-year-old ODU student says he was charged with a misdemeanor curfew violation after being arrested sometime before 9 p.m. near Virginia Beach Town Center. Governor Northam announced the 8 p.m. curfew around 6 p.m. that same night.
“We told them we were walking away with our hands up, and they still told us to get on the ground and we were under arrest,” said Boehm.
Washington says he’s taken on about 20 new clients and says none were involved in any type of property destruction.
“We’re talking about people who were walking around the Town Center with their hands up,” said Washington. “Some of these people have never been in trouble with the law before, and now they are charged with a misdemeanor.”
The penalty of a Class 1 misdemeanor is up to a year in jail and up to a $2,500 fine.
As a black man, Washington says taking these cases are personal for him, and won’t turn a blind eye to anyone fighting for black lives.
“It’s the right thing to do. It’s just the right thing to do,” he said.
Call 757-582-0659 to schedule an appoint with the Steven L. Washington Law Firm.