Reston, VA

County Releases Police Arrest and Traffic Data — The Fairfax County Police Department has released data on traffic citations and arrests by race and gender. The data were provided in “our continued commitment to full transparency to our community and continuous participation in conversation on improving law enforcement,” FCPD said. [FCPD]

Cleaning Work on Underpasses Underway — Reston Association’s crews have been cleaning up underpasses around the community. Yesterday (Tuesday), the team completed the Soapstone to Terraset underpass and “are actively working to take care of all the underpasses.” [Reston Association]

On the Lookout for Destructive Beetle — “It has not yet been detected in Fairfax County, but the county government is asking local residents to be on the lookout for the Asian longhorned beetle, which has been found in other areas of the country and is very destructive to hardwood trees. This beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) has blue feet, a black body and white spots on its back. It is seen as a major problem as it has no natural predators in the U.S.” [WTOP]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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A man has been arrested and charged with the murder of a Reston woman who was found in the basement of a home she rented last week.

Ball Salim Ahmed Ball, 24, of Herndon, was charged with the second-degree murder of Maryam Al Jaberi. Police believe Ball was in a relationship with the woman that began earlier this year.

Al Jaberi, a mother of two, was found dead in the basement of her home on the 11000 block of Great Owl Circle on June 23.

An autopsy ruled the death a homicide. She was discovered by police with trauma to her upper body after her landlord contacted police.

Al Jaberi is survived by two sons. A LaunchGood campaign has raised $35,490 as of Tuesday morning.

Photo via FCPD

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A report showing that Black people are disproportionately involved in use-of-force incidents is prompting familiar calls for reform.

Fairfax NAACP president Sean Perryman is calling on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to address the disparity, which has been on the books for six years.

The latest report, released yesterday (Tuesday), shows that Black residents are involved in nearly 46 percent of use-of-force incidents, even though they make up less than 10 percent of the county’s population. The disparity is less prominent in the Reston District Station.

Perryman is also calling on FCPD to release more data on use of force, including why a stop may turn into a use of force case.

“I don’t understand why the county doesn’t have a sense of urgency about providing that data to us,” Perryman said. “My suspicion is that that data will be much worse than the use of force data.”

He added that he is unsurprised by the data he has seen thus far — which is largely consistent with racial disparities throughout the country.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn pitched a three-pronged approach to address the issue.

Alcorn told Reston Now that the body-worn camera should be quickly implemented throughout the county. Currently, three district stations, including Reston, use the devices.

The role of body-worn cameras in reviewing use of force incidents – as partially implemented in Fairfax County – has already proved useful in the Mount Vernon area of Fairfax County earlier this month,” he said.

Alcorn also said that the county needs to “double down” on community policing.

This is especially important when most of our police officers do not live in the county and do not have many opportunities outside of duty to get to know county residents,” he said.

On a broader level, Alcorn also says that the county needs to shift to another first responder model that does not rely on armed officers or use of force.

Many of the community needs for which police are currently called do not involve violation of laws.  Examples include crisis counseling, suicide prevention, conflict resolution, and a wide range of mental health and behavioral issues.  Creating an unarmed first response unit for these and similar community needs would mark a major step beyond the old model,” he said.

Ashley Hopkins contributed reporting to this story 

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A homicide investigation is underway in Reston after a 29-year-old woman was found dead in the basement of a home she rented on the 11000 block of Great Owl Circle.

According to the Fairfax County Police Department, Maryam Ali Mohammed Al Jaberi was found around 6:30 p.m. yesterday (Monday) by her landlord.

The Office Of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled the death a homicide after an autopsy was conducted this morning. Officers found Al Jaberi in the basement of the home and noticed “suspected trauma to her upper body,” according to FCPD.

The case is under investigation. No other information was immediately available.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Fairfax County Police Department 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.

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Black residents are involved in 46 percent of all use-of-force incidents by Fairfax County Police Department, even though they make up less than 10 percent of the county’s total population, according to report released today (Tuesday).

The Fairfax County Police Department’s latest report sheds new light on the disproportionate impact of use of force on the local Black community. Data are based on closed cases between 2019 and June 1 of this year.

In the backdrop of the national uproar over the killing of George Floyd, calls for more police data and major reforms have echoed in Fairfax County.

It’s not the first time the department’s use of force culture has been under scrutiny. Researchers at University of Texas at San Antonio are studying the department’s culture after a study released in 2017 found that roughly 40 percent of all use-of-force incidents involve a Black individual.

The county’s Board of Supervisors directed Police Auditor Richard Schott to find an academic team to review the data. That study is expected to be released by Jan. 2021.

Nearly 82 percent of all officers involved in use-of-force incidents are white — which is consistent with the fact that nearly 81 percent of all FCPD officers are white. Similarly, Black officers are involved in nearly 6.8 percent of all cases and make up roughly 7.6 percent of the county’s police force.

The disparity is less pronounced but still apparent for cases responded to by officers from the Reston District Station.

Black residents were involved in roughly 31 percent of use-of-force incidents, even though they make up a little over 8 percent of the total population. Roughly 48 percent of all use-of-force incidents involved whites, who make up 67 percent of the total population.

The number of use of force incidents jumped by 20 percent between 2018 and 2019, according to the report.

Overall, common use-of-force tactics include forcing to cuff, forcing to hold, pointing a firearm, and takedowns. The complete report is available online.

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Local police are conducting a death investigation in a Reston neighborhood.

According to the Fairfax County Police Department, detectives are investigating a report of a death at the 11000 block of Great Owl Circle in Reston.

“The scene is contained to a house and there is no apparent threat to public safety,” FCPD wrote around 8:30 p.m. today (Monday).

The department did not release any other information about the incident.

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Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. defended his department’s longstanding use of force policies and commitment to the sanctity of human life as national protests call for dramatic police reforms.

At a meeting with county officials today (Tuesday), Roessler Jr. stated that FCPD’s policies surrounding use of force, the use of chokeholds, and de-escalation are well ahead of many reforms requested by protestors across the country.

Currently, chokeholds are not allowed as a use of force options. De-escalation is required when possible and officers are trained two times per year in order to reinforce the use of force continuum and training. Shooting at moving vehicles is prohibited unless there is a “threat of death or serious injury” to the officer or another person, according to police documents.

“These reform endeavors have not ended as we continue told ourselves accountable,” he said.

FCPD’s use of force policy aims to gain voluntary compliance from the other person using seven core pillars, which include principles like self-control, empathy, balance, realism, and a commitment to lack of humiliation.

A study on FCPD’s use of force culture is underway. The report, which is conducted by University of Texas at San Antonio researchers, was prompted by another study that found roughly 40 percent of all use-of-force incidents involved Black individuals.

Earlier the month, FCPD officer Tyler Timberlake was charged on three counts of assault and battery in what FCPD said was an “unacceptable” use of force.

When prompted by Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay, Roessler Jr. noted that FCPD’s training requirements “typically exceed state mandates.”

The county is currently working on implementing a countywide body-worn camera program. Although the Reston District Station and three other stations have body-worn cameras, the full implementation of the program was delayed due to budgetary concerns.

Recent events, including the killing of George Floyd, have prompted the board to expedite funding for the program. An updated plan will be developed by the end of the month, according to FCPD.

FCPD is also testing a new technology that would automatically turn on the body-worn camera when an officer takes a gun out of the holster.

Major Paul Cleveland noted that the department follows a co-produced policing model, which relies on community support and input to develop policing practices in line with community expectations.

Currently, the police department is taking a look at ensuring its internal culture emphasizes the well-being of officers and de-escalatory practices.

He says FCPD will continue to monitor ways to improve its practices.

“Reform is the right way to go,” he said.

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Police have made an arrest nearly one year after a body was found near the Hunters Woods Village Center.

A teenager has been charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of a Reston man.

Detectives believe the 17-year-old suspect was involved in the 2019 murder of Jose Lorenzo Guillen Mejia.

His body was found by police officers on June 23 at around 1:45 a.m. Police responded to the scene after a reporting of gunshots along a walking trail between Hunters Woods Plaza and Breton Court.

An autopsy found that Mejia died from several gunshot wounds.

The arrest was made after police obtained a felony petition for first degree murder yesterday (Tuesday).

The suspect was already incarcerated at the Fairfax County Juvenile Detention Center for an unrelated offense when he was served the petition.

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Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn says that all Fairfax County police district stations should have body-worn cameras as soon as possible.

Although three of the county’s district stations — including the Reston District Station — already have the devices, plans to implement the program countywide were stalled due to budgetary constraints posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I support implementation in the other five police districts ASAP because the program should not be limited to only part of the county,” Alcorn said.

He added that bodywork cameras are “good for government transparency and accountability” and the county’s police officers.

County officials delayed the rollout of the program, which would have equipped officers with more than 1,200 cameras across the county.

Although funding was delayed for other stations, the county’s budget still maintained an increase of $1.77 million to support the full year of the program.

The program was implemented after a 2018 pilot study by American University researchers. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the $4 million program in late 2019.

Alcorn said his office received several queries about the status of the program following the killing of George Floyd and other events across the country.

Photo via Fairfax County Police Department

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Several mopeds were stolen over the weekend in Reston, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

Police are investigating the thefts, which happened between Friday, May 29 and Saturday, May 30.

The following incidents were reported, according to FCPD’s daily crime update:

11600 block of Charter Oak Court, 2014 Jonway moped

11600 block of Charter Oak Court, 2015 Tao Tao moped

11600 block of North Shore Drive, 2017 Jonway moped

2400 block of Centreville Road, 2013 Dykon moped

All of the cases are active investigations, an FCPD spokesperson told Reston Now.

File photo

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As the sixth day of protests following George Floyd’s death at hands of a Minneapolis police officer continue, local law enforcement officials say they have faith the justice system will produce a just outcome for Floyd and his family.

Peaceful protests were marred by violence over the weekend — including looting and fires in the District last night. Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin was arrested and fired after a viral video shows the officer holding his knee to Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes on Memorial Day. Three other officers involved in the incident were also fired.

The incident prompted Fairfax County Police Department Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. to reflect on ongoing challenges that erode the public’s trust in law enforcement.

We shall have faith the local and federal justice systems will navigate toward justice for the Floyd family, the communities impacted, and our entire nation. However, we must be mindful there is a healing process where righteous anger needs to be constructively exercised through the right to free speech,” Roessler Jr. wrote.

Roessler noted that FCPD’s community policing efforts and collaborations with the community have helped the department operate in a transparent and accountable manner.

“Fairfax County is blessed to have a highly engaged community which helps our Police Department transparently use a co-production of policing philosophy to ensure our hiring processes, training, policies, and internal and external accountability systems are meeting the expectations of the highest levels of standards by our community served and the law enforcement profession,” he said.

Here’s more from the chief on FCPD’s community engagement efforts:

During the last few trying days and today, I’ve personally networked with our community advocates to ensure they have access to their Chief and the senior law enforcement leaders of the Department to create robust dialogue to understand the awful events that have unfolded recently throughout our country as we need to increase our conversations about the erosion of the public’s trust for law enforcement as we continue to observe the disproportionately of the deaths of our African American community members.  As a reminder, we have updated our use of force policies over the years using the co-production of policing model, vetted our policies and training through the Public Safety Committee, and we continue to leverage the partnerships created with community members who were part of the Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission. Additionally, we are grateful for the external accountability measures from the Police Civilian Review Panel, the Independent Police Auditor, the voluntary submission to both state and national accreditation agencies, and the periodic independent reviews of our lines of business by academic institutions.

We continue to pray for Mr. Floyd’s family as individuals, a Police Department, and as a community who all collectively value the sanctity of all human life,” he added.

Herndon Police Department’s Police Chief Maggie DeBoard also said she hopes the community will continue to trust HPD.

It is only through honest and open dialogue, clear minds, and peaceful protest can we continue to make positive steps forward to ensure an incident of this nature never happens again,” DeBoard wrote in a statement yesterday (Sunday).

DeBoard said the actions that took the life of Floyd “showed a complete lack of humanity, one not previously witnessed in my 34-year career.” The incident has left police officers “deeply struggling about our profession,” she said.

Here’s more from DeBoard’s note to the community:

These communities need hope, not destruction, more loss of life, and loss of their livelihoods. This is not the path towards healing or problem solving. It only creates additional barriers and fear at a time when peace and clear minds are so needed.

Please know that all of us at HPD care deeply about our entire community, as well as the effect this incident has had on your relationship with us. We pray that the trust you have instilled in us over the past 8 years that I have been blessed to serve as your Chief, remains strong. It is only through honest and open dialogue, clear minds, and peaceful protest can we continue to make positive steps forward to ensure an incident of this nature never happens again.

Our hearts and prayers go out to George Floyd’s family and to all of those first responders working the front lines trying desperately to protect their communities and its citizens from further harm.

Photo via FCPD

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Local residents and family members are still searching for an endangered Reston man who went missing after walking out of Reston Hospital Center on May 10.

Despite several community-wide efforts — including a helicopter-assisted search — Michael Delaney, 75, has not been found.

“There has been not one positive sighting of him since he left Reston Hospital on May 10,” said Courtney Park-Jamborsky, Delaney’s stepdaughter.

The Fairfax County Police Department and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management plan to conduct another search for Delaney tomorrow (Saturday).

Local police suspended their search on May 13. Local residents have organized community searches and Facebook groups since then.

Delaney, who has Alzheimer’s disease, is 6-foot-3 and weighs 170 pounds. He has blue eyes and gray hair. When he disappeared, he was wearing a yellow hospital gown and jeans.

Anyone with information about his disappearance should call 703-691-2131.

Photos via Courtney Park-Jamborsky

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Local police discovered another swastika in Reston  after several others were found in North Point Village Center roughly one week ago.

Police found the chalk drawing on a wall in the Reston Metro Plaza parking garage.

Fairfax County Police discovered the graffiti on Wednesday around 10:08 a.m. after receiving a report.

The discovery comes one week after swastikas were spray-painted on sidewalks and buildings in North Point Village Center.

Both incidents are under investigation.

File photo

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Confusion Over Governor’s Mask Order — “At a briefing this afternoon, Gov. Ralph Northam emphasized that Virginia’s new indoor mask requirements weren’t intended to be criminally enforced. But the text of the order (released ~3 hours later) defines a violation as Class 1 misdemeanor.” [Virginia Mercury]

Police Arrest Naked Man in Parking Lot — Local police have arrested an Ashburn man who was running through a parking lot on the 2400 block of Centreville Road on May 22. Carlos Ashe, 35, was arrested and charged with indecent exposure and drunk in public. [Fairfax County Police Department]

County Staff Conduct Virtual Inspections — The Health Department’s Division of Environmental Health has been conducting virtual inspections for restaurant owners who are applying for permits for newly built or renovated establishments. [Fairfax County Government]

Foundation Pitches Funding to FCPS — “Ferrovial has contributed $67,500 to the Access for All Fund to support students in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Created by the Foundation in response to the pandemic and school closings, the Access for All fund is supporting Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) by assisting local food banks with food distribution to FCPS families, providing grocery gift cards to homeless and unaccompanied youth, delivering school supply kits, and providing technology access for distance learning.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Local police are investigating a shooting that happened in a neighborhood on the intersection of North Shore Drive and Becontree Lane on May 22.

Two men shot at the SUV of a man and woman while they were driving in the neighborhood around 12:50 p.m.

No injuries were reported. Police believe both parties knew each other.

Although the suspects drove off in their vehicle, charges are pending, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

Information about the incident was made public today (Tuesday).

File photo

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