City Council Formally Appoints New Police Chief, Public Questions Capability
As of Monday, May 21, RaShall Brackney is now officially the new police chief for the city of Charlottesville.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - As of Monday, May 21, RaShall Brackney is now officially the new police chief for the city of Charlottesville.
This comes on the heels of the final discussion for the Police Civilian Review Board, which will consist of community members monitoring officers' actions, and some continue to question if Brackney is ready for the job.
The key word at Monday night’s City Council meeting was “independent.”
People who spoke at the meeting want that review board to be completely separate from the city in order to help it succeed and hold the police fully accountable.
Patience is what Charlottesville's new police chief, RaShall Brackney, is asking of people in the city.
"Be patient with us and be kind to each other, and be kind for those of us who are attempting to move through the process because that is what really does make a difference," says Brackney.
But many people at the meeting say their patience is running thin.
“I can't just leave last summer behind,” says Star Peterson, who was injured during the Unite the Right rally. “I just had my fourth surgery on the leg that James Fields ran over, because Charlottesville police failed to put proper barriers on our streets.”
Some in the crowd say Brackney said she was not going to investigate the police misconduct that happened last summer.
“We can't ignore it, and our new chief certainly should not,” says Brandon Collins, who attended Monday’s meeting. “And we hope that our new chief will stand up for us and protect us.”
But according to Brian Wheeler, Charlottesville’s communications director, Brackney only said she was not going to judge the actions that occurred because she was not here to witness them.
However, she did say she will focus on the recommendations made in the Heaphy report that will help move the community forward.
"We have got a lot of work and we can't talk about this work anymore, we have actually got to get out and do it,” says Don Gathers, a community activist who spoke at the meeting.
Besides Brackney getting formally appointed as police chief, many also spoke out on the need for the Police Civilian Review Board to be completely independent so it can hold police accountable for their actions and make the process as transparent as possible.
“Firing the last police chief and rehiring this new police chief, which is great, is only symbolic,” says Walt Heinecke, who spoke at the meeting. “It’s just a symbol of the problem. The problem runs much deeper in terms of the culture of the CPD.”
City Council approved the creation of the review board last December. The city says there are 13 candidates vying for seven board spots.
Council is not expected to select board members until its meeting on June 4.