Video shows teens forced to strip during robbery; community leaders express outrage

Richmond, Virginia, detectives are working to find the people behind a video circulating on social media.
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 11:55 AM CDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT/Gray News) - Detectives are working to find the people behind a disturbing video circulating on social media.

The video is so disturbing that WWBT is not sharing it.

Sources said it happened over Mother’s Day weekend off of Afton and Lynhaven avenues, and community stakeholders say they’ve had enough of violence among youth.

“We found out that the video had not been reported to the police department. That’s the first thing that bothers me about our community. They did not report the crime, but they spread it all over social media,” United Communities Against Crimes Charles Willis said.

Willis saw the disturbing video of two young men being assaulted, robbed and forced to strip.

“After seeing two versions of it, I was mad, frustrated, angry, disgusted,” Willis said.

The video is about four minutes long and was filmed in the middle of the day.

The video first shows two boys being approached by two other juveniles with a gun and attempting a robbery.

The one with the gun is seen asking the two boys where they’re from, assaulting them by slapping them in the face and making them repeat specific phrases to upset people who live in some regions of Richmond. The teen then starts forcing them to take their clothes off at gunpoint. They also made them throw the clothes in a dumpster.

You see one of the suspects take a chain off a victim and place it on himself. Once the victims are naked, the suspects make them do jumping jacks and then tell them to run away through the neighborhood at the end.

There is also a video recording of one of the suspects who went on Instagram Live to show, gloat and laugh about the incident with another person.

No one was physically hurt in the video, but Richmond Public School board member Jonathan Young said he was notified about the video. He said the fact that this happened is outrageous, and something needs to be done.

“It’s nothing funny about that video at all. The other thing emotionally these kids need not just counsel, but they need emotional support,” Young said.

Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards says detectives are now looking into it. In a statement, police said, “The incident involves acts of extreme humiliation and robbery.”

Police said the incident wasn’t reported to the police.

“This behavior is deeply shocking and disturbing to its core,” said Interim Chief Rick Edwards. “Not only do we need to find those responsible, we need to get resources and support to these young men as soon as possible. I have asked our Strategic Violence Interdiction Unit to support this investigative effort.”

Young said youth violence is something we all need to take more seriously.

Willis echoed that sentiment and said incidents like this could spiral out of control if not handled immediately, noting a significant increase in youth violence these last two years.

“Every last prayer vigil that we did has been for a person under the age of 23, under age of 23, and 80% of them have been teenagers,” Willis said.

Police say no one is in custody for this incident.