Machete maelstrom: Mallory can continue to coach

Joe Mallory, far right with beard, listens while attorney Scott Goodman debriefs supporters who came to court. Staff photo Joe Mallory, far right with beard, listens while attorney Scott Goodman debriefs supporters who came to court. Staff photo

Popular youth coach Joe Mallory, 43, made news earlier this year when the Charlottesville Cavaliers were disqualified from the boys National Travel Basketball Association’s championship tournament for playing a girl on the team.

In September, Mallory was in the news again, this time for brandishing a gun near Greenbrier Elementary School. That incident resulted in a felony charge.

According to a Charlottesville Police press release, Mallory stopped a driver who was speeding on Brook Drive. Mallory threatened the alleged speeder, who motioned toward a machete in his front seat. Police say Mallory retrieved a gun out of his parked car and further berated the machete-carrying motorist, who called police.

In Charlottesville General District Court November 19, Mallory pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of brandishing a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school and received a 90-day sentence, which was suspended on the condition of two years of good behavior.

At least 17 people showed up in court to support Mallory, and his attorney, Scott Goodman, told them afterward that it was because of their presence and their letters of support that the commonwealth agreed to reduce the charge.

Even the arresting officer said outside the courtroom after the hearing, “I didn’t want him to get charged with a felony.”

According to Goodman, Mallory was coaching football when the driver went speeding by. After the driver pointed to his machete, “Joe said, ‘I’ve got something too,’”  said Goodman, and the guy sped off in a “reckless manner.”

Goodman said that when Mallory approached the car, he didn’t know the alleged speeder had a machete and he could have had a gun. “If the other man believed he was threatened, he could have shot Joe,” said Goodman. “Joe would be dead and the person who shot him would walk free.”

It’s a felony in Virginia to brandish a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school.

“Joe could have called the police and reported [the other driver] for reckless driving,” said Goodman. “Joe approached him in anger. The police want you to let them handle it.”

As a result of the reduced charge, Mallory, who was an alternate on the 1996 U.S. Olympic boxing team, and 13 years ago opened a boxing club, will still be able to coach and he can still own a gun.

City Councilor-elect Wes Bellamy was one of those who wrote a letter in support of Mallory. “Joe’s a phenomenal person with a lot of heart,” says Bellamy. “I’ve seen him give money out of his pocket to help people. He’s spent thousands of hours coaching. Even in this he was trying to protect some kids.”

For Bellamy, there’s no doubt. “Joe is a good man.”

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