The Fairfax County Police Department has concluded for a second time that allegations of racial profiling by one of its officers during a 2019 incident in Herndon were unfounded.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors directed police to revisit the case in question in January after the county’s Police Civilian Review Panel recommended an additional review in its first-ever challenge of police findings.

According to a June 1 FCPD memo obtained by Reston Now, the second review — this time under a new police chief — found no evidence that a police officer who followed and questioned a Black driver was motivated by racial bias.

“I have reviewed the supplemental investigative findings and concur that no new evidence was revealed to support the allegation of bias-based policing,” Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said in the memo.

Davis took over as police chief on May 3 amid criticism of his past work in Baltimore and Prince George’s County. In the initial months of his tenure, he has emphasized his willingness to introduce reforms, including revisions to the department’s vehicle pursuit policy and the addition of a data director.

For its follow-up investigation of the Herndon incident, Fairfax County police asked eight employees in the Reston District Station’s Criminal Investigations Section the following question:

“Do you have any direct or indirect knowledge which would indicate [employee name] has engaged or is engaging in behavior that was or is motivated by bias toward a victim’s race, religious conviction, ethnic/national origin, disability, and/or sexual orientation?”

Police said no one indicated there was any evidence of bias exhibited by the detective.

Davis also suggested options for reviewing the case were limited, noting that FCPD started collecting data on officers’ interactions with civilians last October that it wasn’t measuring at the time of this particular incident.

The change aligns with new state requirements for police data collection that took effect on July 1.

“Due to recent updates in Virginia legislation, the Virginia Community Policing Act, the Department has updated our current record management system to capture additional details pertaining to the circumstances of community contacts,” the FCPD said in a statement. “The further details will allow our Department to better understand the contacts we have within our community.”

In his memo, Davis wrote that the department has “further enhanced our transparency by creating a Police Data Sharing Dashboard” that allows people to search information related to warnings, citations, and arrests.

The civilian review panel began reviewing the Herndon incident on May 23, 2019, when it got a citizen’s complaint about an officer who followed him into the parking lot of his apartment complex and repeatedly questioned whether he lived there. Read More

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A police use-of-force study commissioned by Fairfax County revealed that officers use force too often and more than should be expected against both Black and white civilians.

Findings and recommendations of the study conducted by researchers from the University of Texas at San Antonio were presented at the county’s Board of Supervisors public safety committee meeting yesterday (June 29).

The study dove into the 1,360 use-of-force cases involving the Fairfax County Police Department over a three-year period from January 2016 to December 2018.

About 42% of cases were directed at those who are Black, 38% to those who are white. Hispanic and Asian civilians comprised 16% and 3% of such cases, respectively.

Additionally, Black civilians were 1.8 times more likely to have a weapon, such as a taser or firearm, pointed at them by police.

Some of the findings surprised the researchers. For example, there was a higher level of use of force cases directed at those who are white than perhaps expected, and generally, police used force against Hispanic civilians less frequently than they predicted..

“It’s a little bit unusual to findings like that, in my experience,” said University of Texas professor Michael R. Smith, one of the researchers presenting the study. “But those are what they were here in Fairfax County.”

For Black people, who make up about 10.6% of Fairfax County’s population, force rates did exceed proportional rates in most categories — disparities that Smith noted were expected.

Some of the disparities can be tracked to specific district stations as well.

Force used against Black civilians happened at higher rates in the Mount Vernon District as well as in  Franconia, McLean, and West Springfield.

Also, worth noting is that while use of force rates against Asian civilians, who now compose 20% of the county’s population, was overall lower across the county than other racial groups, it exceeded proportional benchmarks in Reston, Fair Oaks, West Springfield, and Mount Vernon.

Men are also much more likely to have more severe force used against them than women, which the researchers said was not uncommon.

A data point that roiled some county board members was if pointing a weapon (firearm or taser) constituted a Level 1 or more severe Level 3 use of force.

For the purposes of the study and after consulting with FCPD, researchers admitted they knocked down the severity of pointing a weapon, which altered the data.

“After some preliminary discussions with senior leadership of the police department, we re-coded the pointing of a weapon — typically a taser or a firearm — to a level one,” Smith said. “This showed…the disparity in force against African-Americans was largely [having to do with] the pointing of the weapon.”

The data revealed that Black civilians were close to nearly two times more likely to have a weapon pointed at them than white civilians.

“These coding decisions matter. It’s a conceptual question,” said Smith. “Police departments around the country and their communities are wrestling with this right now…How serious is it to point a weapon at someone?” Read More

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Former Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis will be the new Fairfax County chief of police, effective May 3.

After emerging from a closed session, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously this afternoon (Friday) to appoint Davis to lead the Fairfax County Police Department. He will succeed Deputy County Executive for Public Safety Dave Rohrer, who has been serving as an interim chief since former Chief Edwin C. Roessler retired in February.

“This is a humbling moment for me,” Davis said on a video call with the supervisors. “I will take it very seriously and I promise not to let you down.”

The decision came after a firm hired by the county conducted a nationwide search that involved more than 275 community meetings and calls, more than 450 emails sent to stakeholders, and a survey that received more than 3,000 responses, according to the county.

The Board of Supervisors “strongly weighed” the survey results in the final hiring decision, the county said.

“We are delighted to have you on board,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McKay said. “We look forward to working with you on behalf of our community.”

Speaking to FCPD officers, Davis said, “You guys are a great agency. I want to say that loudly and clearly.”

“Is there room for improvement? Of course. Are you up to the task? Of course. Is change sometimes hard or difficult? Absolutely,” he said. “We have to seize this moment and continue to get better.”

Davis said earning trust starts with establishing legitimacy and paying attention to communities of color and people who are vulnerable and underserved.

“We have to meet you where you are, be better listeners, be less defensive and quite frankly, see you,” he said.

On accountability, Davis said he will “call balls and strikes.” And as for reform, he told police officers that the county has already embarked on a number of common-sense reforms and encouraged them to embrace this process.

“Reform is what we do for police officers, not to them,” he said. “It makes you better, it earns you better relationships with the community.”

In a statement released shortly after, McKay said Davis is recognized across the region as a leader in police reform, has a strong reputation, and is well-respected in the communities in which he has served.

“As this nation looks to transform policing to make the community safer for everyone, we have the opportunity for a fresh perspective to further our work on police reform in Fairfax County,” McKay said. “After thorough interviews, the entire Board is confident that Kevin Davis will continue Fairfax’s work on police reform, build on the deep community involvement and relationships with stakeholders, and improve morale within the police department.”

According to the county, Davis served as the City of Baltimore’s police commissioner from 2015 to 2018. He had previously served as chief of police of Anne Arundel County in Maryland from 2013 to 2014, and as assistant chief of the Prince George’s County Police Department from 1992 to 2013. Most recently, he has worked as director of consulting services for GardaWorld.

Davis will receive an annual salary of $215,000.

Photo via Fairfax County Government

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The Fairfax County Police Department is turning to the public for help in three shooting-related incidents this year.

In a public alert, FCPD is offering cash rewards varying from $500 to $2,000 for information that leads directly to an arrest.

On Jan. 2, someone fired a gun near Breton Court shortly after 2:45 p.m. Property was damaged as a result.

In the second incident, a man driving a light-colored SUV fired a gun at least three times from his car. The incident happened near Glade drive at Timberhead Court on Feb. 20 shortly after 5 a.m.

Police are offering a $500 reward for information related to both incidents.

A $2,000 award is being offered for information about the shooting death of a Reston man on March 11. Santos Antonio Trejo Lemus, 40, was shot and killed just outside of an apartment building on the 2200 block of Winterthur Court shortly before 5:30 p.m.

Local police canvassed the area of the crime in id-March to gather information about the incident.

Residents can submit tips to Fairfax County Crime Solvers by calling 866-411-8477 or by texting FCCS to 847411. Tips can also be submitted online.

Photo via FCPD

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Local police are investigating burglaries at three Herndon businesses that happened on March 15.

Two burglars smashed the front doors and windows of businesses on the 700 block of Grant Street with rocks and stole cash registers. A third suspect waited in the car, according to the Herndon Police Department.

Information about the incident was released on Tuesday. A spokesperson for HPD declined to release the names of the targeted businesses.

“We aren’t releasing the business names right now, for privacy reasons and because of the ongoing investigation,” the spokesperson told Reston Now in a statement.

Police believe the burglars attempted to target another business but ultimately failed.

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Morning Notes

Local Police to Hold Meeting on Recent Crimes — The Fairfax County Police Department will host a community engagement forum on March 23 to discuss recent crimes in Reston. The meeting takes place via Zoom. [RA]

Virginia Extends Tax Deadline — Gov. Ralph Northam has exceeded the deadline for filing individual income taxes from May 1 to May 17.  The federal government also recently pushed the deadline for federal income tax filings and payments from April 15 to May 17. [Northam]

Nearly a Quarter of Virginians Receive At least One Vaccine Dose — ‘ Virginia surpassed 2 million residents with at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, representing 23.9 percent of the population. According to Virginia Department of Health data, 3,075,086 total doses have been administered, with 2,039,437 people receiving at least their first dose.’  [Reston Patch]

Answers Sought in Reston Shooting — ‘Detectives from the Fairfax County Police Department’s Major Crimes Bureau were knocking on doors in Reston Wednesday seeking information about a recent fatal shooting in the area, according to a post on FCPD’s Twitter account. On March 11, officers responded to the report of gunshots in the 2200 block of Winterthur Court.’ [Reston Patch]

Photo by Ray Copson

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(Updated at 12:42 p.m.) Four businesses in Hunters Woods Village Center were burglarized earlier today.

Police say they responded to a report of a burglary at the plaza shortly after 8 a.m. today.

Someone forced entry into Jersey Mike’s Subs, Ledo Pizza, the Buffalo Wing Factory and King Pollo, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

FCPD told Reston Now that it is currently unclear what was taken but all four businesses were damaged.

Officers and detectives are on the scene investigating the incident.

Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to call the police’s non-emergency line at 703-691-2131.

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Morning Notes

Lakes Under Focus in Reston Association Meeting — The organization is hosting an informational meeting on lake management on March 31 via Zoom. All members are encouraged to take part. [RA]

Save the Date — National Drug Take-Back Day is on Saturday, April 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Fairfax County Police Department will be offering a number of drop-off locations, which will be announced via social media soon. [FCPD]

County Funds for Rental Assistance Now Available — Funds are now available for landlords who are seeking rental assistance on behalf of their tenants. [Fairfax County Government]

Tornado Drill Set for Today — Vriginia’s annual tornado drill take take place at 9:45 a.m. The drill is part of Virginia’s Severe Weather Awareness Week initiative. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Local police have released the identity of a man who was shot and killed in a shooting in Reston late last week.

Santos Antonio Trejo Lemus, 40, of Reston, was shot and killed last Thursday in the 2200 block of Winterthur Court.

Although an autopsy on the exact cause of death is pending, police believe he died of gunshot wounds in the entryway of the apartment building. Police believe that Trejos was outside of the apartment building when an unidentified man began shooting at him at around 5 p.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

A woman was also injured, but police are investigating to determine if the injuries were caused by shrapnel or fragments of building material damaged by gunfire.

According to the Fairfax County Police Department, it is still unclear whether the suspect left on foot or by car.

Anyone with any information is encouraged to contact FCPD using the methods below.

Anyone who may have witnessed the shooting or may have seen the suspect flee the scene is asked to call our Major Crimes Bureau at 703-246-7800, option 2. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone – 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477), by text – Type “FCCS” plus tip to 847411, and by web – Click HERE. Download our Mobile tip411 App “Fairfax Co Crime Solvers”. Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 dollars if their information leads to an arrest.  

Image via Google Maps

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Herndon Police Department Seeks System Engineer — The town’s police department is searching for a police systems engineer to join its team. Professional experience in cybersecurity and handling of confidential information is preferred. [HPD]

Voting Underway for Reston Association Election — Voting is underway for the board election is open through April 2 at 5 p.m. Property owners and renters can cast their vote in the election online. [RA]

Federal Lawsuit Filed Against Fairfax County Police Department — “A Black man who was Tasered and punched by a White Fairfax County police officer without apparent provocation in 2020 filed a federal lawsuit Monday claiming his civil rights were violated, he was subject to excessive force, and he was falsely arrested.” [The Washington Post]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Monday Morning Notes

Reston Company Bets on National Security’s Tech Evolution — The Reston information technology services company has a foot in both cyber operations — offering threat detection, malware forensics, penetration testing and other services — as well as several emerging technologies that have captured the interest of agency leaders, like artificial intelligence, big data analytics and even quantum computing.[Washington Business Journal]

Dog Killed in Reston — A dog was found dead near a walking path on the 2200 block of Cocquina Drive in late February. Police believe that the dog died from an apparent gunshot wound. Animal Protection Police officers and detectives are actively investigating the case. [Fairfax County Police Department]

COVID-19 Restrictions to Begin Easing Today — Gov. Ralph Northam will ease some coronavirus-related restrictions today. Outdoor social gatherings will increase from 10 to 25 people and outdoor entertainment can operate at a capacity of 30 percent or 1,000 people, up from 250. [WTOP]

Applications for County Board of Appeals Due Today — The county is seeking two new members for the Board of Zoning Appeals. Applications are due by today. All applicants must reside in Fairfax County and serve as private citizens, not county employees. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Friday Morning Notes

Alcorn Seeks Intern — The Hunter Mill District Office is seeking a part-time summer intern to help with public service activities. The deadline to apply is March 1. [Fairfax County Government]

Reston House Fire Extinguished — A small fire broke out on the outside of a roof on the 11500 block of Greenwich Point in Reston yesterday evening. The fire was quickly extinguished and no injuries were reported. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Late Night Thieves Target Minority Business OwnersDetectives in Fairfax County are investigating a series of overnight commercial burglaries at minority-owned businesses located in Alexandria, Annandale, Falls Church and Springfield in Virginia. [WTOP]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Monday Morning Notes

Self-Driving Cars Make Local Debut — Self-driving cars from Optimus Ride are now navigating DC’s waterfront, available for pick-ups in the Yards with access to Barracks Row and Capitol Hill. Rides are currently limited to a select group of tenants in waterfront apartment buildings, similar to when the service made its DC-area debut at the Halley Rise mixed-use development in Reston. [Washingtonian]

Stolen Dodge Charger Recovered by PoliceOfficers in the Reston District Station of the Fairfax County Police Department recently recovered an automobile that had been reported stolen in the Herndon area of the county, according to the weekly crime report. [Reston Patch]

Members Sought for County Board of Appeals — The county’s Board of Zoning Appeals has openings for two members. Interested candidates should apply by Monday, March 1. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Friday Morning Notes

Reston Community Center to Open Late — The center’s facilities will open at 9 a.m. today. Water aerobics classics that start before then in the Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center are canceled. [RCC]

Detectives Issue Warning about Texas License Plate Scam — ”Detectives with our Organized Crime and Intelligence Bureau are warning unsuspecting motorists of vehicle registrations being illegally sold involving the issuance of temporary Texas state license plates. Late last year detectives learned that Latinos Solutions Inc., formerly located at 7202 Poplar Street, Suite F, in Annandale, was fraudulently distributing temporary Texas license plates. After a lengthy and complex investigation, detectives arrested Karla Lopez, 25, of Woodbridge. ” [FCPD]

Fairfax Connector Returns to Regular Service with Detours — ”As wintry weather is expected to continue to impact Fairfax County and the National Capital Region, Fairfax Connector will operate full service with established detours tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021.  As road conditions improve, detours will be lifted on a route-by-route basis, or system-wide.” [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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A 20-year-old Reston man has been arrested and charged with killing a former classmate from South Lakes High School, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

Police arrested Jalenn Maurtiece Keene on Friday night in the shooting death of Samuel Onyeuka. The 20-year-old was killed near the 2300 block of Branleigh Park Court after 2 p.m. on Feb. 11. The suspect fled the scene immediately after the shooting, according to FCPD.

Keene was charged with second-degree murder and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. He was arrested hours away in Newport News. Local police worked with the Newport News Police Department to coordinate his arrest. He was found based on a review of financial records and surveillance footage.

Police also believe they found the Nissan Rogue that they believe the suspect fled the scene in. A gun was found in the car, but it is currently unclear if that gun was used to kill Onyeuka.

He will be extradited to Fairfax County and currently remains in custody in Newport News.

This is the first homicide of the year in Fairfax County.

Anyone with additional information is encouraged to use the following means to contact FCPD:

Detectives are asking anyone with information regarding this incident to call our Major Crimes Bureau at 703-246-7800, option 2. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone – 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477), by text – Type “FCCS” plus tip to 847411, and by web – Click HERE. Download our Mobile tip411 App “Fairfax Co Crime Solvers”. Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 dollars if their information leads to an arrest.

Photo via FCPD

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