Truth in scheduling: Progress joins City v. Civilian Review Board fray
A Daily Progress reporter was a topic of discussion during public comment at the May 6 City Council meeting, following Nolan Stout’s story earlier that day that police Chief RaShall Brackney’s calendar seemed to contradict claims that she was unavailable to meet with the Police Civilian Review Board.
CRB member Rosia Parker thanked Stout for his reporting, while Mayor Nikuyah Walker blamed Stout for the escalating tension between the chief and the review board. Councilor Wes Bellamy said he had “personal issues” with the article, and defended Brackney and her calendar. Police gadfly Jeff Fogel yelled at Bellamy to “not punk out,” and Bellamy replied, “You’re the last one to tell me to punk out.”
The latest outburst follows a bizarre April 26 city press release that accused a CRB member of lying about Brackney refusing to meet with the board. That was followed by an even weirder April 30 retraction of the falsehood allegation, which instead pointed the finger at the Progress’ reporting. The paper stands by its story.
And in the latest deepening of trenches in the war of words, city spokesman Brian Wheeler told Stout his Freedom of Information Act request for emails between Brackney or her secretary and City Council or CRB members, and emails between councilors and CRB members, would cost $3,000 and require a $700 deposit. Wheeler refused to break down the costs, which are unprecedented in C-VILLE Weekly’s experience with FOIA.
Megan Rhyne with Virginia Coalition for Open Government says this is only the second time she’s seen a local government refuse to detail its alleged costs, and tells the DP, “I don’t think it’s very transparent.”
Quote of the week
“I believe we have more than enough mandatory minimum sentences—more than 200—in Virginia state code.” Governor Ralph Northam on why he won’t sign any more such bills, which he calls punitive, discriminatory, and expensive
Charlottesville’s carbon emissions per household—11.2 tons annually—are a ton above the national average. City Council voted unanimously at its May 6 meeting to approve a climate action plan that includes a goal of 45 percent carbon emissions reduction by 2030, and total carbon neutrality by 2050.
Wine pioneer dies
David King, patriarch of King Family Vineyards, died May 2 after what the family calls a “hard-fought” battle with cancer. The 64-year-old was a past chair of the Virginia Wine Board, a polo player, pilot, and reserve deputy with the Albemarle County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue division. The family will host a celebration of life on June 14 at their Crozet family farm from 7:30-9:30pm.
The last two members of the now-defunct California white supremacist group Rise Above Movement, who traveled to Charlottesville for the August 2017 Unite the Right rally to brawl with counterprotesters, pleaded guilty May 3 in U.S. District Court. RAM founder Benjamin Drake Daley, 26, from Redondo Beach, and Michael Paul Miselis, 30, from Lawndale, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to riot. Fellow RAMmers Cole White and Thomas Gillen previously pleaded guilty.
Unrelated Bridget Guy and Kyle Guy got top UVA athletics honors at the Hoos Choice Awards May 1. Bridget, from Greensburg, Pennsylvania, is an all-American pole vaulter who was undefeated this season. Indianapolis-native Kyle was named Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Final Four, in part for his sangfroid in firing off three free throws in a row to beat Auburn 63-62.
Confederate battle flag-loving Virginia Flaggers were in circuit court May 2 to appeal a Louisa Board of Zoning Appeals decision that the 120-foot pole they raised on I-64 in March 2018 to fly the “Charlottesville I-64 Spirit of Defiance Battle Flag” exceeded the county’s maximum of 60 feet. The judge has not yet issued a ruling.
Cruel and unusual
The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Virginia’s death row inmates, who spend years alone in a small cell for 23 to 24 hours a day. The justices said the inmates face a “substantial risk” of serious psychological and emotional harm in violation of the Eighth Amendment in the case filed by local attorney Steve Rosenfield.
UVA student sentenced
When former UVA student Cayden Jacob Dalton drunkenly abducted and strangled his ex-girlfriend in August 2018, she told the judge “there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to die.” Now, he’ll serve one and a half years for the crime, with the rest of his 15-year sentence suspended.
Show us the money
With the first campaign finance reports filed March 31, we learned who’s pulling in the bucks ahead of the June 11 City Council Democratic primary, as well as the funds raised by independents Paul Long and Bellamy Brown.