In brief: New year, new interim police chief, new trending on Google and more

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Thierry Dupuis. Publicity photo Thierry Dupuis. Publicity photo

Another chief

Ten days after former chief Al Thomas abruptly retired, City Manager Maurice Jones named an interim police chief while he searches for a permanent department head. Former Chesterfield chief Thierry Dupuis rose through the ranks and led that city’s 600-man force for 10 years, retiring September 1.


“It sounds like it will be the first new council meeting in many years (decades?) where the vote for mayor is not a foregone conclusion.”—Former mayor Dave Norris writes in an email. [Nikuyah Walker was elected mayor Tuesday after C-VILLE went to press]


Change of venue

Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler wants to move his perjury trial from Albemarle County, where he’s charged for filing a false statement to a magistrate. A motion to move will be heard January 19.

Survey says

A survey randomly distributed to 5,000 UVA students in December shows that 25 percent of its 2,726 respondents say sexual assault and misconduct are “very” or “extremely” problematic at the university, where 12 percent of female undergrads reported being sexually assaulted in the 2016-2017 school year, which is down from 39 percent in a 2015 survey.

Cops cleared

A Virginia State Police investigation found that three Charlottesville police officers who fired at J.C. Hawkins Jr., 32, and killed him October 19 after he robbed and sexually assaulted a woman on Riverside Avenue, used reasonable force and will not be charged. The report indicated Hawkins wanted police to kill him and that he pointed a gun at the officers. The officers were not identified, but will be after an internal Charlottesville Police investigation, according to Deputy Chief Gary Pleasants.

Lee’s latest look

Tim Michel

The shrouded Confederate general December 31 was sporting an American flag, chain and a sign that read, “I think it wiser not to keep open the sores of war. Commit to oblivion the feelings engender,” a quote attributed to Robert E. Lee after the Civil War.


Tragic year end

Charlottesville police

Molly Meghan Miller, 31, had already been missing 24 hours when law enforcement was notified December 30 that she’d left home on a bitterly cold night wearing only a sweatshirt. Police searched for her, and on New Year’s Day used bloodhounds—with no luck.

Her mother, Marian McConnell, told NBC29, “It’s all very concerning circumstances.”

Around 5:30pm January 1, Charlottesville police reported finding her body at the 1,149-square-foot home at 922 King St. that she shared with fiancé Anson Parker, a 2015 City Council candidate and employee at the University of Virginia.

“At this time, there is no reason to believe there is any threat to the public,” says a police release. “More details will be provided when appropriate.” Several sources have stated Miller’s death was likely a suicide, but police had not released further information at press time.

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The year in Google

Not only did we become #Charlottesville in 2017, but the city also trended on Google’s top searches August 13, the day after the deadly Unite the Right rally, and was the second most popular protest search after “NFL national anthem protests.”

Top 5 related topics

  • Nazism—political ideology
  • White supremacy
  • Vice magazine
  • Nationalism—political ideology
  • White nationalism—political ideology

Top 5 related queries

  • Antifa Charlottesville
  • Heather Heyer
  • Heather Heyer Charlottesville
  • Unite the Right Charlottesville
  • Rally in Charlottesville

But the searches weren’t all about white supremacists. The No. 3 trending Google search on December 28? Virginia Cavaliers football, Navy Midshipmen football, Military Bowl and Bronco Mendenhall.

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