Governor Glenn Youngkin announced yesterday the creation of a task force to combat violent crime in Virginia. Said the Governor in making the announcement: “We will take a comprehensive look at how we can address the rise in violent crime by providing more law enforcement resources, creating alternative and after-school activities for children, and addressing the fear that results in witnesses failing to show up for a criminal hearing.”
The announcement could not have been more poignantly timed. In Hampton Roads, three men were killed and three others injured in a series of shootings on Sunday and Monday, reports The Virginian-Pilot. One incident occurred at a vigil attended by hundreds of people in Norfolk in commemoration of a previous shooting victim.
Hopefully, the task force will identify some useful tweaks to policing, justice, and schools to reverse the upsurge in violence over the past two years. But the problem runs deeper than a lack of resources or a failure of policy. What we’re seeing now is the result of a thorough de-legitimization of the criminal justice system by America’s political, media and cultural elites. Charges of “systemic racism” have inspired contempt for law enforcement in lower-income Black communities. To turn the tide, Youngkin needs to articulate a counter-narrative that restores legitimacy to the justice system, and then enact reforms to back it up.
By James C. Sherlock
The Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, a career progressive politician unburdened by a law degree, has declared Fairfax County’s support of federal authorities in execution of federal law to be unconstitutional.
Not unaffordable; not wrong; but unconstitutional.
He offered that opinion to justify his decision that the Fairfax County police will not help the federal government protect three Supreme Court Justices who live in the county.
Nonsense. That is not the reason.
The Justices who live in the county are all conservatives – Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett and Clarence Thomas – under attack by the left and threatened with personal harm.
That is the reason.
If Justice Kagan had a home in Fairfax County and was threatened, the FCPD would stand up a new division to protect her. The perimeter would be a half mile in every direction.
by James C. Sherlock
I will share a press release this week from the Justice Department.
Convicted Felon Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Identity Theft, and Firearm Offenses
We’ll try to figure out at what point we lost our minds about law enforcement. Continue reading
by Dick Hall-Sizemore
The 2022 General Assembly appropriated $6.5 million to compensate seven individuals who had been wrongly incarcerated.
The men had been convicted of crimes which it was later determined they did not commit. They were:
Eugene Stevens--$1.7 million. (HB 394) Stevens was convicted of murder in 1986 in Lancaster County and sentenced to 99 years in prison. The only physical evidence against him was a hair. The FBI now states that the tests used to compare that hair with Stevens’ hair is scientifically unreliable. Also, several prosecution witnesses lied and the Commonwealth presented false testimony. Stevens was paroled after serving 32 years in prison. Based on work by the University of Virginia Innocence Project and the published opinion of a federal Court of Appeals judge that, in light of the facts newly discovered in the case, no jury would have reasonably found Stevens guilty, Governor Northam granted him an absolute pardon in 2021, noting that it “reflects Mr. Stevens’ innocence”. For a fuller discussion of this case on this blog, see here. Continue reading
by Kerry Dougherty
If there’s a special ring in hell for those who prey on children — and I hope there is — there should also be a place reserved for those who hurt the elderly.
Consider the monstrous acts of Janeen Bailey, a 57-year-old LPN with 25 years of nursing experience who stole painkillers from elderly patients in two long-term care facilities and used the drugs to relieve her own discomfort while they writhed helplessly in pain.
According to news reports, Bailey told investigators she believed the patients could cope with their own pain better than she could with hers because she was working and they were not. The nurse allegedly suffered from back pain.
Bailey denied she was an addict.
She pleaded guilty to two counts of tampering with a consumer product.
That’s the most serious charge prosecutors could concoct? Continue reading
A Select Fire (Semi Auto / Full Auto) Glock 17 – credit: ENDO
by James C. Sherlock
This guy was better armed than the average citizen or cop. But just with a weapon. It did not seem to help him. Darwin was right.
From a DOJ news release:
Virginia Beach Man Pleads Guilty to Possessing a Machine Gun Used in a Shootout
NORFOLK, Va. – A Virginia Beach man pleaded guilty last week to illegal possession of a machine gun.
According to court documents, Shy’Quan Dodson, 25, possessed a machine gun on July 18, 2021. That day, Norfolk Police (NPD) officers were in the vicinity of the 900 block of Tunstall Avenue in Norfolk, where they observed multiple individuals shooting at each other. The individuals fled in three separate vehicles, and during the ensuing pursuit a firearm was tossed from the rear of the vehicle. After a 15-minute pursuit that ended in a crash in Portsmouth, Dodson was detained while attempting to flee on foot from the vehicle. The firearm tossed from the vehicle was a Glock with an attached component that converted the handgun into a fully automatic machine gun.
A search of Dodson’s cell phone showed photos of him holding the weapon, and a primer residue test revealed that Dodson had primer particles on his hands from the discharge of a firearm. Dodson’s phone also contained communications with another individual related to the buying and selling of machine gun conversion kits.
Dodson is scheduled to be sentenced on August 12. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
West End Motors
by James A. Bacon
What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. I lambasted former Attorney General Mark Herring for touting his prosecution of gas station owners for “price gouging” — raising prices in the wake of the Colonial Pipeline shutdown. Now the AG’s office under Jason Miyares has issued a press release crowing about squeezing a $6,000 settlement out of Lovettsville-based Wheeler & Wheeler Inc. (West End Motors) for raising its prices during the state of emergency declared last May. It’s only fair that I give Miyares some hell.
Between May 11 and May 14, the gas station charged an average price of $3.51 for regular unleaded, and more for other grades of gasoline — an increase of more than 20%. The increases were not attributable to additional costs incurred by the business, an AG investigation found.
“I am pleased that my office reached an agreement that will make restitution dollars available for affected consumers,” Miyares said in a press release.
The irony is that $3.51 today would be quite the bargain. As of March 15, the average price of regular in Virginia was running around $4.20. Continue reading
Phyllis Randall (left) and Mike Chapman (right). Photo credit: Loudoun Times
by Ken Reid
The latest battle between the Left and Right in Loudoun is not over CRT, but PD – as in, “police department.” Should Virginia’s most-populous county transfer key law-enforcement functions from the elected sheriff to a newly created civil-servant police chief?
No crime problem in Loudoun is driving this debate. No scandals, budgetary issues, or layoffs are afflicting the sheriff’s office. Loudoun (population 423,000 and growing) is among the wealthiest in the nation.
Rather, this is a conflict between the three-term Republican Sheriff, Mike Chapman and Democrat Board Chair Phyllis Randall, now in her 2nd term, primarily over her desire to have a Police Oversight Board, which Chapman, like most law-enforcement heads, opposes.
The Democrat-controlled Board, which probably had the votes to put the issue to the voters, opted instead to hire the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IAPD) to study the matter and determine the costs. Continue reading
by Kerry Dougherty
Although it’s unlikely, I like to think we had a little something to do with Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone’s surprise announcement Wednesday that he was retiring in two days.
We’ve been critics of his leadership. Perhaps he was paying attention when we called for him to be fired just 15 days ago.
Actually, we first called for him to be sacked last November.
No one is saying the chief has been fired, of course. But it’s unusual for a chief with 30 years of service to the department to make such a hasty exit. His official retirement takes place April 29, but Boone’s last day on the job is tomorrow. He’s using accrued leave for the next several weeks.
Boone’s retirement comes amidst an ugly spate of violence. According to reports, there have been 49 people shot in Norfolk so far this year in 39 separate shootings. Continue reading
by Kerry Dougherty
On Saturday evening at about 6:30 three people were shot at Norfolk’s once-upscale MacArthur Center.
One man, 33-year-old Roosevelt A. McKinney, was killed. Two others were taken to the hospital with gunshot wounds.
The Norfolk police would like your help in identifying the suspected shooter. They’ve even provided security cam stills:
Anyone recognize the suspect? You know, the guy wearing what appears to be a ski mask? Continue reading
by James A. Bacon
A woman is being treated for life-threatening injuries from a gunshot wound after being found in a room at the Diamond Inn & Suites hotel in Richmond’s Diamond District yesterday. City records show that the Richmond Police Department has been called to the motel for multiple incidents, including overdoses and a death investigation, since the beginning of the year, reports WRIC-TV.
Another routine crime. Not even a homicide. Ho, hum. But this shooting and previous incidents at the hotel didn’t take place in “the projects,” which middle-class city residents can compartmentalize as tragic but not affecting them. The shooting took place across the street from PopUp RVA, a popular weekly gathering featuring 50 to 70 local artisans, crafters, new businesses, local distilleries, food, desserts, drinks, and local live music. The hotel is just outside Scotts Addition, a light-industrial area transitioning into the hippest neighborhood in the city.
Cities die from a thousand small cuts like this.
Law-abiding, tax-paying citizens pay attention. WRIC quotes Peter Feddo, a 16-year city resident, as worrying that the shooting is part of a pattern of more crime in the past year and a half. Continue reading
by James A. Bacon
California has become notorious as a shoplifter’s paradise where prosecutors downplay “minor” crimes and the criminal element has responded, quite rationally, by increasing the brazen looting of retail outlets. The theft is so rampant in San Francisco and Los Angeles that dozens of drugstores and other retailers have closed shop. I’ve long wondered if such phenomena would reach Virginia, which has elected a good number of prosecutors who, in the California mold, have professed an intention to ameliorate the impact of a supposedly racist criminal justice system upon racial minorities.
I had seen no sign of such social disorder in Virginia… until today. I happened to be perusing the Fredericksburg Police Department crime report of March 28th, when I came across this notice, along with the photograph posted below:
Ulta, 1696 Carl D. Silver Parkway, 3/21, The store manager reported two males and a female entered the store and stole approximately $15,000 worth of merchandise before exiting. While leaving, one of the males knocked a customer to the ground. Photos of the suspects are below.
by James A. Bacon
The Defund-the-Police movement in Virginia has passed its peak. Indeed, it may have disappeared, leaving barely a trace. People still may have concerns about the criminal justice system, but that doesn’t mean they want to throw out the good with the bad. Consider three stories in the news clips today.
SROs in schools. The City of Alexandria voted last year to end the School Resource Officer program in the city’s four middle and high schools. After a series of incidents involving students and guns, Council reversed course in October. Now, reports The Washington Post, school officials, while “reimagining” their relationship with police, are saying that safety considerations require keeping a police presence inside schools as the work continues.
The school system of 16,000 started the 2021-2022 school year without SROs for the first time in three decades. Police were called to schools 96 times in the first half of the 2021-2022 school year and made 18 arrests. Continue reading
by Kerry Dougherty
In March of 2021, the Virginia Beach oceanfront was the scene of a shooting spree that left two people dead.
Last weekend, Norfolk’s Granby Street experienced something similar.
These shootings shock the senses, especially when innocent people are among the victims.
At least one of the Granby Street victims was a bystander, Sierra Jenkins, a 25-year-old Virginian-Pilot reporter. At the Beach last year 28-year-old Deshayla Harris was also killed by a stray bullet.
The deaths of both of these young women who were simply doing what young people have always done on a spring Saturday night were unspeakably tragic.
No sooner had the Granby Street shoot-out happened than headline-grabbing politicians announced their plans to deal with “gun violence.” Continue reading
by James A. Bacon
Our society has become inured to stories of drug dealers and other criminals shooting and killing one another on our cities’ streets. But we still maintain a capacity for outrage at the death of pure innocents — children and others who were unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Such was the case with Sierra Jenkins, a 25-year-old Virginian-Pilot reporter who was hanging out with friends outside Chicho’s Pizza Backstage in downtown Norfolk around 1:30 a.m. Saturday as the bar was closing. Gunfire broke out, and she was caught in the crossfire. A total of five people were shot. Sierra was killed, one other person died from his wounds, and three others were hospitalized.
A Norfolk native, Jenkins graduated from Granby High School, earned a B.A. degree in journalism from Georgia State, worked as an intern at Atlanta Magazine and CNN, and joined the Pilot in 2020, where she covered education. Her editor called her a passionate journalist and “a bright and talented woman with so much going for her.” Continue reading