CPD: 4 charged with vandalism in connection with Defund the Police Rally

CPD: 4 charged with vandalism in connection with Defund the Police Rally
Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney (Source: WVIR)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney went on Facebook and Twitter Thursday, June 25, to make an announcement regarding the Defund the Police Rally held over the weekend.

Brackney announced that four people have been charged with vandalism related to actions at the rally. The names of the individuals charged have not yet been released.

A rally calling on several local police departments to be defunded started at the Freedom of Speech Wall Sunday, June 21, then marched through the Downtown Mall. Demonstrators then moved across up to Market Street, stopped in front of the police department, and blocked the road for approximately an hour. During that time, some participants spray painted messages to the police on the street.

“DEFUND + ABOLISH” being spray painted on E. Market Street outside the Charlottesville Police Department.
“DEFUND + ABOLISH” being spray painted on E. Market Street outside the Charlottesville Police Department. (Source: WVIR)

“While most of this event remained peaceful, several individuals chose to engage in unacceptable and criminal behavior. This included harassing and attempts to shame individuals who were trying to enjoy a Fathers’ Day meal on the Mall with their families,” Brackney said Thursday. “The group then blocked off Market Street in front of the Charlottesville Police Department, for more than an hour vandalizing the streets and the sidewalks with cruel, threatening, and hate filled language at the entrance of the courts and police station, where, unfortunately, every officer, civilian employees, maintenance, and janitorial team members who came into work had to endure.”

The Charlottesville Police Department says the investigation is ongoing, and it is in the process of identifying other individuals.

Charlottesville workers removed the spray paint from the street early Monday, June 22, at a cost of over $19,000. The city later provided NBC29 with the expense cost breakdown, which includes about $15,000 for milling and paving, and $4,400 for in-house labor and supplies:

City of Charlottesville provides graffiti removal cost estimate.
City of Charlottesville provides graffiti removal cost estimate. (Source: WVIR)

Please join Chief Brackney for a live announcement regarding last Sunday’s demonstration.

Posted by Charlottesville Police Department on Thursday, June 25, 2020

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06/25/2020 Release from the Charlottesville Police Department:

In response to nationwide, regional, and local rallies and marches, the Charlottesville Police Department has been publicly supportive and understanding of the pain and outrage being felt across the nation following the deaths of so many unarmed Black men and women at the hands of police.

We’ve acknowledged and held up the efforts of our community leaders as a national model. However, the peaceful efforts of so many in this community were overshadowed and undermined by the criminal actions of a few.

This past Sunday, a large gathering assembled at the Freedom of Speech Wall, and then proceeded to march on the Downtown Mall, and towards Market Street. While most of this event remained peaceful, several individuals chose to engage in unacceptable and criminal behavior.

This included harassing and attempts to shame individuals who were trying to enjoy a Fathers’ Day meal on the Mall with their families. The group then blocked off Market Street in front of the Charlottesville Police Department, for more than an hour vandalizing the streets and the sidewalks with cruel, threatening, and hate filled language at the entrance of the courts and police station, where, unfortunately, every officer, civilian employees, maintenance, and janitorial team members who came into work had to endure.

In response, on Monday morning, Charlottesville Public Works teams were mobilized to quickly remove the vandalism by power washing, sealing, and repainting the street. Unfortunately, this is a temporary fix as Public Works will also have to repave that section of Market Street, costing the taxpayers upwards of $20,000.

As a result of these criminal actions, the Charlottesville Police Department, with support of the Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, launched a full investigation into identifying those individuals who chose to engage in criminal behavior. Four individuals have been charged with Vandalism in violation of Virginia State Code 18. 2-137, a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Class 1 Misdemeanors are punished by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

However, we are not finished. The Charlottesville Police Department is also in the process of identifying other individuals, and the incident remains under investigation.

As public safety professionals, we acknowledge the necessity of spontaneous reactions to newsworthy events, and have consistently provided safe venues to allow our community to peacefully express their pain, grief and outrage. More specifically, this department has worked tirelessly, over the past few months to keep this community safe and healthy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, other public safety issues and the costly demonstrations that have unfolded over the last month.

Our officers come into work with the goals of keeping this community safe and a commitment to deliver “Service Beyond the Call.” We will continue to prioritize the public’s health and safety, but criminal actions that deface public spaces or put the safety of others at risk cannot be tolerated.

Charlottesville - locally and nationally, politicians, power structures, and law enforcement agencies have heard your cries for authentic reform, but reform cannot occur if we do not work together as a community to create the co-production of public safety that we all long for.

During this time, we ask every member in this community to engage in civil discourse, without causing unnecessary pain and allowing detractors to co-op the message, and manner by which reform can and will be achieved.