Shooting details revealed, alternative mapping project, and new ABC policies: News briefs

File photo. File photo.

Check daily and pick up a copy of the paper Tuesday to for the latest Charlottesville and Albemarle news briefs and stories. Here’s a quick look at some of what we’ve had an eye on for the past week.

Officer cleared in Birdwood Court shooting

A grand jury has found there was no wrongdoing on the part of a county officer who shot a city man in May, the Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office announced last week.

Albemarle police officers William Underwood and James Herring were responding to a report of a hit-and-run in Seminole Square Shopping Center when they arrived at the Birdwood Court home of Josue Salinas Valdez on May 26, said Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Chapman. The accident happened just minutes before, and the victim had written down Salinas Valdez’s license plate number.

According to Chapman, Salinas Valdez’s speech was slurred and he was uncooperative. Recordings from the scene told the grand jury what happened next, he said: Salinas Valdez advanced on Underwood, grabbing and injuring him, and wasn’t slowed by two Taser shots from Herring. He then took Underwood’s police baton, and while Herring went to get more Taser cartridges, again advanced on Underwood, who warned him twice, then shot him in the torso.

Salinas Valdez was indicted July 1 with DUI, felony hit-and-run, assault on a law enforcement officer, and attempted malicious wounding of an officer.

The grand jury found no charges were warranted against Underwood in the

ABC changes policy following Charlottesville incident

Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control has made an immediate change in procedure that will require a uniformed officer to be present in operations like the one that landed a UVA student in jail after she bought a case of sparkling water.

News outlets around the world picked up the story of 20-year-old Elizabeth Daly, who was approached by plainclothes officers April 11 as she left the Barracks Road Harris Teeter with a 12-pack of LaCroix water, ice cream, and cookie dough. The Daily Progress, which broke the story, reported one officer jumped onto the hood of Daly’s car, and another pulled a gun. Daly fled the scene in her car while calling 911, allegedly “grazing” two officers, and was then pulled over and arrested for felony eluding police and two counts of felony assault of a police officer—charges that were dropped after she spent the night in jail.

Last weekend, The Daily Progress reported that an agent in a police uniform will now act as a contact person when plainclothes officers approach people suspected of buying alcohol underage. The uniform will likely consist of a utility belt and an “overgarment” with the word “police” in white letters.

The Bridge kicks off alternative mapping project

The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative has launched a seven-week community mapping project that will survey Charlottesville residents on what they see, feel, and smell as they’re walking around town. According to Charlottesville Tomorrow, Map Lab, which will run through July and August, aims to chart the city from a more individual perspective than the federal census.

The project kicked off last Friday, when organizers released a 5′-diameter helium balloon into the air with a camera attached, a low-tech effort to snap aerials of the city. In the coming weeks, The Bridge will host talks, presentations, and walking tours around Charlottesville, mapping things like the location of edible plants, and spots in town that spark specific emotions. Every day for the next two months, a new question will be posted on the facade of the Bridge’s gallery, and passers-by are encouraged to pick up a piece of chalk and share their answers.

According to organizers, MapLab will yield a sort of off-beat atlas of Charlottesville—one they hope will be added to in years to come.

Habitat calls for volunteers 

Eight homes in 11 days. That’s the ambitious goal set by Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville, which is seeking volunteers for a building blitz starting July 17, during which the nonprofit hopes to frame the first houses in its Belmont Cottages neighborhood.

Eventually, the community on Avon Street will include 15 houses—seven market-rate, eight affordable and designated for low-income Habitat families.

Habitat is looking for 25 volunteers to pitch in during each day of the “neighborhood raising.” To sign up to help, contact Sara Parrish: or 293-9066, ext. 200.—C-VILLE writers