RICHMOND, VA, June 22 — The editor of The Virginia Defender, one of more than a dozen speakers at this evening’s online meeting of Richmond City Council, demanded real input from the community in the selection of the next chief of police. He also challenged all members of council to join him after the meeting at the liberated zone of the Marcus-David Peters Circle, which police were expected to attempt to sweep at sundown.
In an impressive display of solidarity during the coronavirus pandemic, protesters in more than 50 cars circled in front of the Richmond city jail this afternoon, honking horns and displaying signs demanding that inmates be released to protect them from the COVID 19 virus that has already shown up in prisons across Virginia.
Regular readers of the Defender should be familiar with the case of Jermaine Doss of Norfolk, who was sent to prison in 2000 in connection with the shooting death of Norfolk businessman James Webb.
Riverside Regional Jail was in the news again Feb. 21, when Fred Lavigne, 53, of Chesterfield County, was found unresponsive in his cell. According to jail spokeswoman Charlene R. Jones, suicide is suspected, but the state medical examiner’s office will determine the official cause of death.
In a new Department of Corrections policy, Virginia’s roughly 38,000 state prisoners are now allowed no more than 10 people on their visitors lists.
The 2020 Virginia General Assembly, in which the Democrats hold a majority of seats in both the Senate and House of Delegates, has been promoting a number of bills that may bring a measure of justice to some of the state’s 38,000 prisoners – and will likely disappoint many others.
The 3rd Annual Virginia Prison Justice Rally, sponsored by the Virginia Prison Justice Network, was held Jan. 11, 2020, on the grounds of the Virginia State Capitol. This year’s rally was preceded the day before by a press conference, held in the briefing room of the General Assembly building and covered by TV stations CBS-6, ABC-8 and NBC-12, as well as several newspaper outlets.