Charlottesville’s police chief discusses white supremacy and Black Lives Matter Movement

Chief of Charlottesville Police RaShall Brackney discusses policing.
Updated: Oct. 19, 2020 at 4:38 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - At a forum on Monday, Charlottesville’s police chief criticized the Black Lives Matter movement for lacking diversity and talked about some police unions and their ties to neo-Nazi organizations.

Chief RaShall Brackney also says there needs to a cooperative effort between police officers and mental health professionals. She called it a co-production of public safety, but says the chances of it happening are minimal to none.

"If you get a mental health order, they require the police department to serve those orders and to take custody of that person. So, until you change the statutes, that’s not going to happen where you say, ‘oh, send social workers in or send someone in who can support that,’” Brackney said.

This summer, Black Lives Matter protestors marched in the streets of Charlottesville to protest police-involved killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Philando Castile and numerous others over the past few years. Brackney says she told her officers to give them room.

“We have stood by and stand by in a way that allows space and room for discourse, for anger, for outrage to be heard," she said.

Brackney also criticized the Black Lives Matter movement in Charlottesville and across the nation for lacking diversity.

“Here and across the nation the majority of the Black Lives Matter movements have been co-opted by persons who do not reflect the Black Lives Matter original movement and concept as well. The majority of the rallies, demonstrations and marches here are primarily majority people and they don’t look very diverse in their marches or their rallies," she said.

The first black woman to serve as Charlottesville’s chief of police also got personal discussing her husband, who is a Black man, facing discrimination. She says it is not enough to confront implicit biases, police must confront explict bias too.

“Law enforcement agencies are aligning themselves, unions are aligning themselves with white supremacists and neo-Nazi organizations. That is not comfortable for any person of color or any person who does not feel like they have power and access," Brackney said.

Brackney says she sent everyone on staff with the police department to a week long training through the Anti-Defamation league as a way to help combat biases, hate, and racism.

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