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Mayor Stoney names members of “Task Force to Reimagine Public Safety”

“There is a lot of work ahead of us, but this group’s diversity of expertise and lived experiences is a key asset on our path forward,” said the mayor. “I am thrilled to have this team help our city heal.”

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Today Mayor Levar Stoney announced the members of the Task Force to Reimagine Public Safety and outlined his primary requests of the diverse group of professionals. The majority of task force members stood with the mayor for the announcement.

“There is a lot of work ahead of us, but this group’s diversity of expertise and lived experiences is a key asset on our path forward,” said the mayor. “I am thrilled to have this team help our city heal.”

The members of the task force bring an array of perspectives from activist, legal, academic, law enforcement, emergency services, artistic, healthcare, and other fields. At the close of a 45-day period, the task force will bring the mayor a set of actionable steps forward to build a safer city for all.

“After additional conversations and review of actions taken in other cities, I do not believe we can wait to begin acting on reform recommendations,” said Mayor Stoney. “I have asked this task force to report back with initial recommendations within 45 days of their first meeting.”

The mayor established three foundational requests of the task force: reviewing the police department’s use of force policies, exploring an approach to public safety that uses a human services lens, and prioritizing community healing and engagement.

“We need a new process for noncriminal and nonviolent calls for service, and that will be a top priority for this task force,” noted the mayor. “We must center compassion instead of consequences.”

Regarding community healing and engagement, the mayor said that the task force will allow the city to explore methods of engagement that will enable meaningful change, using his support for the Virginia Black Legislative Caucus’ legislative package as an example.

“Last month I expressed my support for the VBLC’s package for the summer session,” said Mayor Stoney. “This task force can determine where the city can explore complementary legislation and where we need to focus community advocacy to make statewide change a reality.”

Members of the Task Force

Carol Adams, Richmond Police Department
Ram Bhagat,
 Manager of School Culture and Climate Strategy for RPS

Glenwood Burley, retired RPD officer

Keisha Cummings, community engagement specialist, founder of 2LOVE LLC, member of the Richmond Transparency and Accountability Project and the Richmond Peace Team

Torey Edmonds, Community Outreach Coordinator at VCU Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development

Professor Daryl Fraser, VCU School of Social Work professor and licensed clinical social worker

Triston Harris, Black Lives Matters organizer and organizer of the 5,000 Man March Against Racism

Birdie Hairston Jamison, former district court judge for the 13th Judicial District in Virginia

Councilman Mike Jones

Shanel Lewis, Youth Violence Prevention Specialist at the Richmond City Health District

Brandon Lovee, Richmond artist and advocate, member of the Richmond Peace Team

Colette McEachin, Richmond Commonwealth Attorney

Reverend Dontae McCutchen, Love Cathedral Community Church

Dr. Lisa Moon, Associate Provost at VCU and former Director of the Center for the Study of the Urban Child

Sergeant Brad Nixon, RPD

Tracy Paner, Public Defender for the City of Richmond

Bill Pantele, Richmond attorney and former City Council Member

Professor William Pelfrey, VCU professor with expertise in emergency preparedness and policing

Councilwoman Ellen Robertson

Rodney Robinson, National Teacher of the Year and teacher at the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center

Patrice Shelton, Community Health Worker in Hillside Court and director of the Hillside Court Partnership

Lashawnda Singleton, President of the Richmond Association of Black Social Workers

Sheba Williams, Executive Director of NoLef Turns

Courtney Winston, Richmond trial attorney

The Mayor’s Office is specifically working with the Office of Community Wealth Building’s Community Ambassadors to identify additional community members, including youth, to be part of the task force’s important work and to assist with community engagement.

The task force is committed to a transparent process and will make meeting minutes available to the public.

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City to provide grants to businesses damaged during recent civil unrest

“Though many protests have been peaceful, sporadic nights of severe property damage have hurt our small business community,” said Mayor Stoney. “These grants will help those establishments get back on their feet and send a message to the owners and employees of those businesses that they’re heard, they’re valued and we’re in this together.”

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The City of Richmond has recommended that City Council allocate $500,000 to create the Business Recovery Grant Program. Under this new, one-time program, grants will be awarded to eligible local businesses, non-profit organizations, and commercial property owners to recover costs from damage during recent demonstrations within city limits.

“Though many protests have been peaceful, sporadic nights of severe property damage have hurt our small business community,” said Mayor Stoney. “These grants will help those establishments get back on their feet and send a message to the owners and employees of those businesses that they’re heard, they’re valued and we’re in this together.”

The grants will be a reimbursement of expenses paid to repair property destruction during the recent civil unrest.  This could include window repair, graffiti removal and more. The maximum grant award is $10,000 for a single commercial property address.

The city’s Commercial Area Revitalization Effort (CARE) Program is the proposed funding source for the one-time grant program. The normal CARE Program grants will not be impacted by the creation of the one-time grant program.

If funding for the Business Recovery Grant Program is approved during the August 10, 2020 City Council meeting, the program guidelines will be posted on the city website and applications can be submitted electronically starting August 13.

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City introduces ordinance to prohibit firearms adjacent to events requiring permitting

Currently, the code bans firearms in city-owned and -operated parks and facilities. The newly introduced ordinance would also prohibit the possession, carrying, or transportation of any firearms in any public street, road, alley, sidewalk, public right-of-way, or any open public space when it is being used by, or is adjacent to, an event that requires a city permit. 

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At the August 10 meeting of the Richmond City Council, the Stoney administration introduced an ordinance to modify current Richmond City Code section 19-334.1; Carrying Firearms in Certain Places.

Currently, the code bans firearms in city-owned and -operated parks and facilities. The newly introduced ordinance would also prohibit the possession, carrying, or transportation of any firearms in any public street, road, alley, sidewalk, public right-of-way, or any open public space when it is being used by, or is adjacent to, an event that requires a city permit.

This ordinance does not broadly ban firearms in these public spaces. Rather, it bans firearms when a permitted event, or an event that should be permitted, is taking place.

The expansion to the existing ordinance is intended to promote the health and safety of event attendees and city residents as a whole.

“The City of Richmond proudly hosts hundreds of public events each year, but I believe it’s in the interest of everyone’s safety to take guns out of these spaces when neighbors, visitors and families gather,” said Mayor Stoney. “Under this proposed change, Richmond residents will be able to attend public events with a greater sense of security, knowing that the city is actively prioritizing their safety.”

In 2019, the mayor introduced the ordinance that prohibits the carrying of firearms in city-owned and -operated parks and facilities. As soon as the General Assembly adopted legislation granting that authority to localities, the ordinance went into effect.

This most recent proposed change is also made possible by a recent amendment by the Virginia General Assembly to the Code of Virginia, which now authorizes localities to prohibit firearms in this instance.

“As a city, we must exhaust all possible options to reduce gun violence in our communities and neighborhoods,” said Mayor Stoney. “I’m thankful the state has finally given us a vital tool in building a safer Richmond.”

The proposed ordinance, which must be approved by Richmond City Council to take effect, does not apply to authorized military personnel in the performance of their lawful duties, law enforcement officers or security guards contracted or employed by the City of Richmond.

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Richmond Police seeking public’s help in locating missing child in alleged parental abduction

The Richmond Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating a missing child, Kamill Jones, 2, whose mother is wanted for parental abduction.

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The Richmond Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating a missing child, Kamill Jones, 2, whose mother is wanted for parental abduction.

Erica Jones, 26, was last seen on July 16 in the 1100 block of Cypress Street when she picked up the child from family members. She was due to return Kamill to family members on July 18 but has not returned. Erica Jones does not have legal custody of Kamill Jones. They may still be in the area. Photos of mother and daughter are attached.

Erica Jones is approximately 5’ 3” and weighs about 200 pounds.

Anyone with information on Erica Jones or Kamill Jones is asked to call Detective J. Hewitt at (804) 646-6870 or contact Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or at www.crimestoppersrichmondvirginia.com.

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