Morning Notes

New Capital Bikeshare station at Vantage Hill (via vantagehill/Flickr)

Virginia PTA Official Resigns after Fairfax County Rally — Virginia Parent Teacher Association Vice President of Training Michelle Leete resigned Saturday (July 17) after drawing heat for her speech at a rally in support of transgender students before the Fairfax County School Board’s meeting on July 15. Leete is also a leader of the Fairfax County NAACP, which said in a statement yesterday (Sunday) that it stands “firmly” by her and that her remarks have been taken out of context. [The Washington Post]

Man Arrested for Reston Town Center Carjacking — Last Wednesday (July 14), Fairfax County patrol officers found a stolen car in the parking lot of Kohl’s in Herndon and arrested the man inside, charging him with grand larceny, possession of stolen items, and two drug-related charges. Police believe he was also responsible for a carjacking that occurred in Reston Town Center on June 12. [FCPD]

Gerry Connolly Trail Partially Closes Starting Today — “The Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail will be closed between mile markers 3.2 and 3.8 in the Difficult Run Stream Valley Park from Monday, July 19 through Friday, Aug. 6, 2021…The closure of this section of trail north of Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) will allow crews to perform maintenance on the Potomac Interceptor sanitary sewer.” [Fairfax County Park Authority]

Reston Kindergartener Awarded Grant — The Reston Accessibility Committee awarded a grant through its Financial Aid Outreach Program to a Reston kindergarten student with special needs. The grant will help the student’s family purchase sensory toys for a home-based therapeutic program. It’s the third grant that RAC has distributed as part of the program. [RAC]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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The Fairfax County Democratic Committee wants county leaders to fire newly hired county Police Chief Kevin Davis in response to continued controversy surrounding his history as an officer.

The local political group passed a motion at its general membership meeting yesterday (Tuesday) recommending that the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors fire Davis, reopen the police search, and implement a transparent hiring process.

“We believe we need to overhaul the criminal justice system from top to bottom, to end racial inequity in policing, end police brutality and build a police force built on trust where our residents don’t need to worry about protecting their families from the police sworn to protect and serve them,” FCDC said.

Davis’s hiring has drawn vocal criticism from civil rights advocates and community groups since he was appointed as retired Chief Edwin Roessler’s successor on April 23, particularly in the wake of an NBC4 report on two lawsuits that he faced while working as an officer in Prince George’s County, Maryland in the 1990s.

In one case, Davis reportedly stopped and violently arrested a driver, eventually leading to a $12,500 jury award to Mark Spann, who is Black. The other case involved Davis and a group of narcotics officers illegally detaining a 19-year-old, who later sued and won a $90,000 judgment.

Davis has also faced renewed scrutiny for his 2015-2018 tenure as commissioner of the Baltimore Police Department, which included a secret aerial surveillance program and a six-day lockdown of the predominantly Black Harlem Park neighborhood that is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit filed by the ACLU’s Maryland chapter.

“Hiring a candidate with a history of racially charged use of force incidents in their past is not starting from a place where community trust can be built,” FCDC said.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay has repeatedly expressed confidence in Davis as Fairfax County’s new police chief.

A spokesperson from his office declined to comment on the FCDC motion, which was developed by the committee’s Black caucus. The committee says in a press release that it was “overwhelmingly” supported by its 1,000-plus members.

In lieu of a comment, McKay’s office shared a letter sent to FCDC on May 20 that touted Davis’s “ability to implement progressive reforms,” citing his efforts to implement changes in Baltimore like the introduction of body-worn cameras and a revised use-of-force policy that emphasizes deescalation.

The letter, which was signed by all nine Democratic supervisors, also defended the level of public engagement used during the police chief hiring process. The search included a pre-screening panel, a survey that generated over 3,000 responses, and an outreach campaign with over 275 community meetings and calls.

Davis also participated in a public input session during his first week as the new police chief — albeit with continued controversy.

“We are confident that this year’s process was the broadest and incorporated both extensive public input and intentional inclusivity,” the Board of Supervisors letter said. “Regardless, we commit to looking at our entire public participation process for future personnel decisions and establishing a framework for further improvement.” Read More

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