New chief takes oath
As the city’s first-ever female police chief RaShall Brackney was sworn in June 18, she said we should all be saddened “in 2018, that my gender is a topic of conversation.”
The former George Washington University chief and Pittsburgh police commander of 35 years said on her first official day on the job, her priority is to meet with leaders of every shift at the Charlottesville Police Department. And then the obvious one: Come up with a plan for how to handle this summer’s anniversary of last August’s deadly Unite the Right rally.
Brackney only has two months to do so, and said she’s “up for the task.”
Hiring Brackney was one of Mayor Nikuyah Walker’s first major decisions.
“I’m really excited about today,” Walker said, because she believes Brackney will “bridge the divide that we currently have in our city between black citizens in low-income communities and law enforcement.”
As a female, multi-ethnic police officer who grew up as one of six children, sharing one bathroom with a family of eight, Brackney said she understands “feeling disenfranchised,” and later echoed, “I understand what it feels like to not be included.”
One of her top priorities since she’s been in law enforcement is reducing violence in African American communities, and Brackney said she’s “never disconnected from the communities from which [she’s] from.”
When asked what uniqueness she brings to Charlottesville, the new chief quipped, “besides being a Steelers fan?”
“You made several points, right, and one of the ones in which I feel is absolutely repulsive is the fact that you believe that an event like August 12, which was indeed very sad, traumatizing to our community, you say that it’s the worst thing to ever happen here in Charlottesville.”—City Councilor Wes Bellamy at the June 18 meeting, telling Pat Napoleon, who has called for councilors to resign, that he thinks slavery and lynching were worse.
“Jane Doe” is suing UVA Health System’s CEO and several medical practitioners for allegedly taking blood and urine samples and giving her medication against her will after a suicide attempt. She’s represented by local attorney Jeff Fogel, who is also alleging gross negligence, false imprisonment and assault and battery in his federal lawsuit.
The water’s not fine
Albemarle County officials and the local health department are encouraging Chris Greene Lake goers to “avoid water contact” at the beach, boat ramp and dog park, because of a toxic blue-green algae bloom that was caused by recent weather. People and pets will be prohibited from swimming there until further notice. High levels of algae closed the lake last summer, too.
UVA students and visitors with limited mobility cannot currently traverse the entire Lawn. To make that possible, construction will begin on two brick wheelchair ramps this summer, though the project has been met with opposition from groups such as the Jeffersonian Grounds Initiative, which, according to the Daily Progress, said “ramps will protrude into the Lawn and do violence to [its] integrity.”
Boots’ 100th birthday
Beloved UVA prof Ernest “Boots” Mead died four years ago. But that didn’t stop his former students, who have also established the Mead Endowment, from toasting his 100th birthday June 13 with celebrations across the country in D.C., New York, Richmond, San Francisco, Charlottesville—and Lander, Wyoming. Way to make an impression.
The Albemarle County School Board will no longer ask the Board of Supervisors for a November bond referendum, and has reduced its funding request from next year’s capital budget from over $50 million to $5.4 million. The money will go toward a 600-student learning center, a classroom addition and new gym for Scottsville Elementary School and renovations at a couple high schools—though completion costs for all three projects will be $81 million.
He said, she said
After the controversial conviction of Corey Long for pointing a homemade flamethrower at white supremacists on August 12, a tweet from activist group Solidarity Cville—which supported Long during his trial and demanded that the prosecutor drop the disorderly conduct charge—said Long had lost his job, and encouraged followers to send him a few bucks via PayPal.
“Community defender Corey Long was fired from his job because ‘they wouldn’t be able to hold his position for the duration of his incarceration,’” the June 13 tweet said. Against the prosecutor’s advice, a judge sentenced Long to 360 days in jail on June 8, with all but 20 days suspended. With good behavior, he’ll likely only serve 10 days, and they could be served on weekends.
Solidarity Cville also tweeted a message from Long, who allegedly said, “It’s their loss, I was a good employee. But thanks for everything. Every bit helps!”
An anonymous caller told C-VILLE that Long worked at a Taco Bell in Gordonsville, stopped showing up a couple weeks before his conviction and was never fired.
According to corporate Taco Bell spokesperson Jacqueline Cisneros, the Gordonsville franchise said “team member” Long is still employed, and that it has reached out to him several times without any response. It is unclear whether Long was recently employed elsewhere.
Long did not respond to an interview request, but shared a Facebook post from Darnell Lamont Walker on June 15, which said, “Corey Long was just fired from his job,” and linked to Long’s PayPal account.