Chief Brackney addresses city on recent violence

This morning, Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney held a press conference to update the public on a series of violent crimes in the city and to state that the Police Department needs the community’s assistance to fix the problem. 

“More than a month ago we stood before you to discuss the unprecedented levels of violence in this community,” Brackney said. “Unfortunately the trend has continued into the New Year. We understand the drivers of systemic violence. We study them. We explore the root causes of community violence to include poverty, exclusion from education or living wage opportunities. We understand institutional supremacy and racism and its effects. Charlottesville does not need another commission, does not need another task force or forum to understand or address violence here.”

Chief Brackney said Charlottesville is rich with resources, but that many community voices need to come together to solve problems. 

“I’m calling on all individuals, all organizations, who have called for change since 2017 to get involved,” Brackney said. “I’m calling on community advocates, influences, organizers, to go beyond Twitter or Instagram, Facebook, your news interviews, podcasts or social mediums to leverage your collective resources. What are you willing to contribute to solve the problem?”

Brackney said the community needs tutors, mentors, and people to spend time in communities affected. She said many in Charlottesville are suffering from trauma.  

“I have witnessed this community coalesce around issues it cares about,” Brackney said. “Social justice. Police reform. Historical and institutional racism and supremacy. Community violence is an institutional legacy and our children are their inheritors.”

But before that, let’s get back to recent incidents. The top three news alerts on the Charlottesville Police Department are for:

Major Jim Mooney, the assistant chief of police, was on hand at the press conference to give some statistics for 2020.

“Charlottesville Police Department responded to 195 calls for shots fired so just under 200,” Lt. said. “A hundred and twenty-two of those were confirmed shots fired cases meaning we found evidence of gunfire, shell casings. And in numerous cases there were victims associated with that.” 

There were four homicides in 2020 and three of those were solved. Mooney said 2021 is not getting off to a good start. 

“Multiple shots fired calls with a number of cases, some cases 20 plus casings,” Lt. said. “We have people that are shooting wildly and in our cases on Tuesday we had two incidents where apartment buildings were hit and not just one apartment, multiple apartments.  In one of those apartments a woman lay in her bed and the bullet traveled through the mattress. Another woman was struck in the forehead.”

Brackney said a long-term approach is needed and that the department needs resources. 

“It means addressing all of the underlying systemic ills that are going on, and this cannot be laid solely as a burden at the Police Department’s feet and that again is almost how the questions are always formed, is what is our response,” Brackney said. “I can’t do this by myself and neither can this department.”

Charlottesville Chief RaShall Brackney

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the December 16, 2021 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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