Former Virginia Police Chief Files Lawsuit Against Charlottesville

June 20, 2022
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.—A former Virginia police chief is suing the city she served as well as several current and former officials over her firing, saying in her $10 million lawsuit that she was terminated because of her race, color and sex.

Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney was fired last September. In her lawsuit, Brackney and her lawyers allege that city officials engaged in a monthslong conspiracy to have Brackney fired, The Daily Progress of Charlottesville reported.

“(Brackney) was fired for being a Black woman who was trying to reform a police department,” attorney Charles Tucker Jr., who represents Brackney, said during a news conference Wednesday outside the U.S. Federal Building and Courthouse in downtown Charlottesville.

City officials declined to discuss the lawsuit. City spokesman David Dillehunt said the city does not comment on pending litigation.

The lawsuit names 10 individuals as defendants in addition to the city. Among those named as defendants is former City Manager Chip Boyles, who fired Brackney, and former Assistant Police Chief James Mooney, who once backed out of replacing the fired chief.

In an op-ed published in The Daily Progress on Sept. 17, Boyles said he fired Brackney because he was concerned after at least 10 department leaders said they would leave because of Brackney’s leadership. Boyles said he felt he had to make a “hasty” decision to save the department.

Boyles also said he regrets the decision and wishes he had worked with Brackney and city councilors more before making the decision to fire her.

Prior to the lawsuit, Brackney filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against the city, Boyles and others, asking for $3 million. At a news conference in November she said she was still experiencing “humiliating acts of discrimination, continued disparate treatment, harassment and retaliation.”

Brackney’s actions came at a time when Charlottesville turned to a consulting firm to run it because two city managers resigned in 2021 and Mooney, who was to replace Brackney temporarily, backed out.

Outgoing Mayor Nikuyah Walker, who had said that city leaders were contributing to white supremacy, announced in September that she would not run for City Council again because of Brackney’s firing as well as her relationship with the other councilors. Walker drew criticism for social media posts in which she compared Charlottesville to a rapist.

According to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, Brackney lists 11 causes of action for the lawsuit. They include race, color and gender discrimination; unlawful retaliation; violation of Virginia’s whistleblower statute; defamation and more.

During the news conference, Brackney said she had a message for the defendants: “You have been put on notice. As our former mayor (Nikuyah Walker) said, we have unmasked this illusion.

Topics Lawsuits Law Enforcement Virginia

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