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Former councilor weighs in on firing of CPD Chief Brackney

Published: Sep. 3, 2021 at 4:13 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The recent firing of Police Chief Rashall Brackney has stirred up a lot of opinions and emotions around Charlottesville

Former City Councilor Wes Bellamy tells NBC29 he’s disappointed that City Manager Chip Boyles made the decision to let Brackney go. However, Police Civilian Review Board Chair Bellamy Brown says it was the right decision.

“The prior council brought Chief Brackney in because we knew that there were some deep systemic issues that we had in our police department,” Bellamy said. “Is she going to be liked by everyone? No, but she was doing the job and she was doing it well.”

Bellamy served on Charlottesville City Council from 2016 to 2019. Brackney, the city’s first Black woman to be chief of police. was hired in 2018.

“We have individuals who are Black. I faced it, our current Mayor Nikuyah Walker is facing it, as well. Whenever we have individuals who are Black who speak boldly, then there’s a great deal of backlash and there’s often a push to have them pushed out, and it’s just really disappointing and I hope that our community, as a whole, takes a look in the mirror because it’s going to be really hard for us to continue to attract Black leadership,” Bellamy said.

However, Brown disagrees: “From what I saw, based on my human resources and my employment litigation background, I felt that there was the appropriate decision to be made,” he said. “Right now there’s obviously an aspect of the police department that has to be rectified and addressed, still have to work, in bridging the gap between the police and the community, ensuring that public safety is adequately provided to the community itself.”

Bellamy wants to see City Council step up to the plate during this time.

“We as a community didn’t support her. We didn’t handle her the right way, and we let her down. Unfortunately we see the byproduct. So I hope this current council looks to move in the right direction, but I don’t have any faith in them doing so,” Bellamy said.

Charlottesville announce Friday, September 3, that the search is now underway for Brackney’s replacement. City Manager Chip Boyles announced Assistant Police Chief James Mooney will manage the Charlottesville Police Department in the meantime.

“In order to dismantle systemic racism and eliminate police violence and misconduct in Charlottesville, we need a leader who is not only knowledgeable in that work, but also is effective building collaborative relationships with the community, the department, and the team at City Hall,” Boyles said in Friday’s release. “While very good work and progress has been made, I ultimately decided new leadership was required to continue the city’s progress towards building a new climate and culture within the department.”

RELATED:

09/03/2021 Release from Charlottesville:

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - Charlottesville City Manager Chip Boyles announces that Assistant Police Chief James Mooney will manage the Police Department as the City commences a national search for its next Police Chief.

“As I mentioned Wednesday, James Mooney has agreed to continue in his position as Assistant Chief to assist with this transition,” said Boyles. “Major Mooney has said he will not be a candidate for the Chief’s position; however, he has committed to helping keep the department moving in a positive direction.”

On Wednesday, Mr. Boyles announced he was terminating the contract of Chief RaShall Brackney, exercising his right to terminate the Chief’s employment contract, upon 90 days’ notice. She is on paid administrative leave for the next 90 days, until November 30, 2021.

“I want the community to understand that I fully supported the difficult personnel decisions made recently by Chief Brackney,” said Boyles. “I also supported the publication of her letter on August 20 that shared background information with the community on these departmental and staffing changes. Promoting transparency and fostering trust are also important values for me as City Manager.”

“However, in order to dismantle systemic racism and eliminate police violence and misconduct in Charlottesville, we need a leader who is not only knowledgeable in that work, but also is effective building collaborative relationships with the community, the department, and the team at City Hall,” added Boyles. “While very good work and progress has been made, I ultimately decided new leadership was required to continue the City’s progress towards building a new climate and culture within the department.”

The City Manager will share with City Council more details about the Police Department’s transition plan next week.

“We have many dedicated employees in law enforcement that do very difficult jobs every day and who embrace our vision for reform,” said Boyles. “I want them to know that I share their goal of having both a department and a leadership team that they can be proud to serve.”

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