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Richmond Police Chief William Smith resigns at request of Mayor Levar Stoney

Taking Smith’s place will be Major William “Jody” Blackwell, who will serve as Interim Chief. Blackwell has worked for the department for over 16 years, according to the city.

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The Richmond Police Department’s top brass has stepped down at the request of Mayor Levar Stoney. Following several recent nights of protests during which police pepper-sprayed and fired rubber bullets at protesters, the mayor called for Chief William Smith to step down.

“He has served this city with grace but we are ready to move it in a new direction,” Mayor Stoney said in a statement. “I have high expectations of the Richmond Police Department. And at a minimum I expect them to be willing to come around the table with the community to reform and reimagine public safety.”

Taking Smith’s place will be Major William “Jody” Blackwell will serve as Interim Chief. Blackwell has worked for the department for over 16 years, according to the city.

“Interim Chief Blackwell is willing and able to focus on necessary public safety reform, healing, and trust-building within the community,” Stoney continued.

The mayor went on to outline a collaborative path forward. He indicated he has spoken to Council President Newbille, and will follow up with a letter, outlining a request that City Council work with the administration, the interim chief, and the community to develop legislation to create a citizen review board.

“My hope is that City Council will be proactive in collaborating with me and community leaders in all nine of their districts to craft a citizen review board with complete community buy-in,” he said.

He also indicated he will sign the Obama Pledge for Mayors, which commits the city to reevaluating its use of force policy. Beyond the immediate changes of strengthening the Richmond Police Department’s ban on chokeholds and duty to intervene policy, that pledge includes the creation of the Richmond Task Force on Reimagining Public Safety.

The task force will bring more than 20 individuals from the activist, legal, academic, law enforcement, behavioral health and other communities together to agree on a set of actionable steps forward within 90 days of the first meeting.

“The mission of this task force will be to make public safety recommendations that build toward equity and justice. Using a restorative justice framework, we can reimagine public safety to create a truly safer city for all – meaning both the members of the community and the officers that serve the community.”

Currently, police officers are asked to respond to every type of crisis, from homelessness to mental health crises. The mayor noted that reimagining public safety in the City of Richmond must include designing an emergency response system and empowering a social safety net that meets these needs.

“We can’t expect our police officers to serve as social workers, psychologists, and juvenile trauma experts, intervening in these situations because America hasn’t properly prioritized other service providers. It does not make our country, or our city, safer.”

“One thing is clear after the past two weeks: Richmond is ready to reimagine public safety. There’s work to be done, so if you have been out on the streets, I invite you to join us at the table. I want to incorporate your experience and turn your pain into progress.”

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Trevor Dickerson is the co-founder and editor of RVAhub.com, lover of all things Richmond, and a master of karate and friendship for everyone.

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VIDEO: Police seeking suspect in armed robbery at convenience store on Mechanicsville Turnpike

Just after 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, September 20, an unknown male entered the 804 Market in the 1600 block of Mechanicsville Turnpike. He displayed a handgun, gave the clerk a plastic bag, and told him to fill it with money.

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From RPD:

Richmond Police detectives are asking for the public’s help to identify the individual in the photos and video who is the suspect in a commercial robbery that occurred earlier this month.

Just after 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, September 20, an unknown male entered the 804 Market in the 1600 block of Mechanicsville Turnpike. He displayed a handgun, gave the clerk a plastic bag, and told him to fill it with money. The suspect then fled with an undisclosed amount of money and was last seen running east on Fairfield Avenue.

Anyone with information about his identity is asked to call First Precinct Detective D. Jones at (804) 646-0689 or contact Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or at www.7801000.com. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones may also be used.  All Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.

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VIDEO: Suspect sought in serial destruction of property at downtown law firm

Security video shows the suspect outside Tavenner & Beran, PLC, located at 20 N 8th Street, on Saturday, September 19. The most recent incident occurred on September 21.

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From Richmond Police:

Richmond Police detectives need the public’s help to identify the man in the photo and video shown here who intentionally cut the phone and internet cables to a private law firm on several occasions this year.

Security video shows the suspect outside Tavenner & Beran, PLC, located at 20 N 8th Street, on Saturday, September 19. The most recent incident occurred on September 21.

Detectives believe this suspect opened the electrical box and cut the wires inside back in January. After a lock was installed, he proceeded to cut all the wires to the electrical box again.

Anyone with information about the identity of this suspect is asked to call Fourth Precinct Detective J. Land at (804) 646-3103 or contact Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or at www.7801000.com. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones may also be used.  All Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.

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Crime

Suspect sought in downtown convenience store robbery

Richmond Police detectives need the public’s help to identify the individual in the photo who stole hundreds of dollars worth of candy from a convenience store earlier this month.

RVAHub Staff

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From Richmond Police:

Richmond Police detectives need the public’s help to identify the individual in the photo who stole hundreds of dollars worth of candy from a convenience store earlier this month.

On Sunday, September 13, an unknown male entered the BP in the 2600 block of East Main Street. He removed a garbage bag from his pants and then went to the candy aisle and filled the entire bag with candy. The suspect left the store and was last seen walking to a hatchback vehicle.

Detectives ask anyone with any information about this man’s identity to call First Precinct Detective T. Wilson at (804) 646-0672 or Crime Stoppers at 780-1000. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smart phones may also be used. All three Crime Stoppers methods of contact are anonymous.

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