A Virginia police chief defended his actions weeks after he was filmed shaking hands as he presented a chocolate milk gift to an armed member of the far-right boogaloo movement and allowed an armed member of the far-right boogaloo movement to speak outside the departmental headquarters while protesting the new open transportation laws.
On October 15, a number of heavily armed men held a rally to exercise their Second Amendment after Newport News passed an ordinance prohibiting the open carrying of firearms in buildings, facilities and parks throughout the city.
The rally was organized by Mike Dunn, who is associated with the Boogaloo movement, a loose anti-government coalition of right-wing extremists and liberals preparing for the downfall of society and the outbreak of civil war in the country.
Men associated with the movement were arrested in September on suspicion of involvement in a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
On the steps of the Newport News police headquarters, Chief Steve Drew was seen offering Dunn a public address system to explain why he was participating in the protest and offering him a bottle of chocolate milk.
It was later revealed that the milk was an inside joke between the two after Dunn requested chocolate milk after he was arrested the week before for trying to go to Huntington Park with his gun, contrary to the new open-carry law that triggered the protest.
“I think this is his way of apologizing without coming out and apologizing,” Dunn said into the police PA system while wearing a Hawaiian shirt worn by Boogaloo members and armed with his gun.
Police Chief Steve R. Drew spoke with the “Boogaloo Boys” among others.
He confirmed that he returned his handgun to Mike Dunn today.
He sent his condolences to Duncan Lemp’s family and said he wanted to treat the rally “with the utmost respect” and asked them to do the same. pic.twitter.com/rOjCTZdNNL
– Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) October 16, 2020
In his speech, Dunn claimed that he and his men “completely disregarded” the new ordinance by carrying their weapons outside of police headquarters.
“We stand together here openly and frankly and blatantly oppose an unconstitutional city ordinance, and we will continue to do so,” he said.
In an interview with the Daily Press, Drew said the men did not break any rules because the protesters did not carry their weapons inside the building. Drew added that the supply of chocolate milk was part of a de-escalation plan to ensure that there was no unrest at the rally.
There were no arrests or scenes of violence as a result of the protest.
“I think the citizens should be proud of how the department handled things,” Drew said. “To me, any protest, demonstration or rally that ends peacefully is, in my opinion, the right tone to set.
Aubrey “JaPharii” Jones Jr., who leads the Black Lives Matter 757 group, was also present at the rally. He criticized the police for double standards and noted that black protesters were not treated similarly in the demonstration against a Donald Trump rally in September.
“This is a social experiment, and our hypothesis was correct,” Jones said. “In my four years of activism, I have never seen a police chief offer me an f*****g PA system to tell them what I am and what I won’t do. It just didn’t happen.”
This police officer offered his help to a veteran member of Boogaloo, despite his open opposition to Virginia’s open carry law, pic.twitter.com/MbyZRdmUhi
– NowThis (@nowthisnews) October 27, 2020
Drew denied claims that his kindness to the mostly white pro-gun activists had anything to do with race.
“And it worries me that some in the social media have tried to make something of it,” he added.
“We do not close our doors to anyone. This section serves the city of Newport News. I don’t care how old you are, what zip code you have, what race you are or where you live.
On October 27, the news station NowThis tweeted a clip of Drew and Dunn at the rally with the caption: “This police officer offered to help an old ‘Boogaloo’ member, even though he openly opposed Virginia’s open-carry law.
The video has since been