As Richmond Police Officer Josh Hale pulled City Commissioner Robert Blythe from his cruiser, the handcuffed man plaintively asked bystanders for help.
“Call my mamma!” Blythe said, evoking laughter from several people who were snapping pictures outside Central Bank in downtown Richmond.
Next, a man in black and white stripes was led up the sidewalk. In everyday life, Andrew Davis may be the youth pastor at Big Hill Christian Church, but Friday he was spending hard time in “jail.”
“I was hoping someone would run,” Hale said with a grin as he handed his prisoners off to Stephanie Lainhart, interim director of Hope’s Wings, the local domestic violence program. The perps were taken into a room in the bank’s basement.
After being booked and having a mug shot taken, Davis and Blythe helped themselves to homemade cinnamon rolls, cookies and fruit.
Each prisoner either volunteered for the Hope’s Wings fundraiser or was “nominated” by someone. The prisoners had until 4 p.m. to raise their $500 bail by calling friends, family and co-workers to ask for donations. If someone wanted to donate but couldn’t make it to the “jail,” they could contribute online by going to www.hopeswings.org and clicking on the Paypal donation button.
People also donated to keep a prisoner in jail as was done to JCPenney manager Bill Burkmeir.
“His employees donated to have him arrested,” Lainhart said.
The fundraiser will help Hope’s Wings operate its shelter for women and children. The money also will help pay for a variety of community education efforts.
Chik-fil-A donated box lunches, and several businesses donated prizes for the top fundraising “prisoners.”
After dropping off Blythe and Davis, then snacking on a cookie, Hale headed back out in his cruiser to serve his next “warrant” on Richmond Fire Chief Buzzy Campbell.
Hale waited patiently in the downtown station’s parking lot for Campbell to arrive. Several firefighters waited with the officer, discussing their plans to video their boss’s “arrest” and send footage to a Lexington television station.
When Campbell arrived and got out of his truck, he was not impressed with his arresting officer.
“They could’ve sent someone bigger!” Campbell said with a laugh as he stuck out his hands and cuffs were slapped around his wrists.
“Taze him,” a firefighter heckled from the sidelines.
On the ride to the “jail,” Campbell consented to an interview without his attorney present. He said he’d already raised $75 toward his bail. He’d previously been “summoned” to participate in the fundraiser.
“I just thought it would be a pretty good idea,” Campbell confessed.
When Campbell arrived at Central Bank, Blythe welcomed him. Richmond Mayor Jim Barnes and his wife, Jan Barnes, were in the process of turning themselves in.
“They finally got me,” Campbell said. “It was only a matter of time.”
Sarah Hogsed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6694.