Charlottesville mayor, councilor react to firing of RaShall Brackney by CPD

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 12:25 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Reaction to the firing of now-former Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney came in swiftly Wednesday night. The dismissal certainly touched a nerve across the city, from the mayor to the chair of the Police Civilian Review Board.

Just hours after the announcement of Brackney’s firing, Mayor Nikuyah Walker took to Facebook Live.

“There is no reason for Chief Brackney to be terminated,” Walker said on the social media platform.

The mayor said she received a phone call around 4:00 p.m. Wednesday that Brackney had been terminated. The city sent out the announcement roughly two hours later, just after 6:00 p.m.

“I’ve asked why, and I don’t have any answers,” she said.

Walker said during a closed meeting with city council on August 16, Brackney shared her perspective on the culture within the Charlottesville Police Department.

Here’s how Walker described it:

“If primarily white officers are having an issue with me attempting to try to change the culture of this police department, and I am anti-racist, they might have an issue with me.”

That closed meeting came days before some of the issues with the city’s SWAT Team were made public.

In June, someone sent the police department a video recorded a year earlier by a member of the SWAT team. According to CPD, the corporal said “things are f****d up” and that he is looking forward to when “we can get back to some hood gangsta s**t”.

An internal affairs investigation into the SWAT team was opened and police say they found more disturbing behavior. This included videos of SWAT members’ children detonating explosives and videos of simulated sex acts.

CPD shared that the internal investigation into the SWAT team resulted in two resignations and one termination.

Fellow City Councilor Lloyd Snook said in an interview with NBC29 after Brackney’s firing that the former chief’s actions at that meeting were “very good explanations”.

That was not the problem in his eyes. He says the problems included a four-page statement (where the information about the SWAT Team was unveiled) released by the city without attribution.

“I know it didn’t get passed by city council,” Snook said. “It didn’t have an author designated for it, it wasn’t coming from the communications office, I don’t know who wrote it. That’s a concern. It’s a management concern.”

Snook said he never told City Manager Chip Boyles what to do, but he offered some advice.

“I was concerned about the police officers, including the ones she had hired, who were leaving because they were upset with her management style,” Snook said. “I was concerned that we may end up losing other police officers. And those are the kinds of things that Chip Boyles needed to deal with as a manager.”

Bellamy Brown, the chair of the Police Civilian Review Board, who has shared concerns about the climate at CPD, offered this take in an interview Wednesday night:

“I’m pleased that we’ve gotten to this point. I think it took some effort behind the scenes to really open up some of the reasons behind it.”

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