Lee Monument Protest Class Action Update
No Surprise - Empty Promises by the City of Richmond
One Year Statute of Limitations to Begin Misdemeanor Prosecution Against Miscreant Police Officers to Lapse on June 1, 2021 - with no prosecutions???????????
The one year limitation for initiation of criminal prosecution for misdemeanors under Va. Code § 19.2-8 will lapsed at midnight on June 1, 2021 , and the promise of an investigation and prosecutions for those responsible for the assault and battery on Virginia’s citizens may prove to be empty promises.
HOWEVER!!!! - "Malfeasance in office" - 2 year statute of limitations
Note: Va Code § 19.2-8 does provide “Prosecution of nonfelonious offenses which constitute malfeasance in office shall commence within two years next after the commission of the offense.” To rest upon this extension of the statute of limitations adds an additional layer of complexity – having to prove that the nonfelonious offense also constitutes “malfeasance in office.” There is little statutory or case law to guide courts on this common law violation of malfeasance. For a deeper dive – click here.
Since the RPD officers had no right to arrest the peaceful protesters – their actions would not be misfeasance (doing a lawful thing by improper or unlawful means — but malfeasance in office – doing an act for which they had no lawful authority.
July 17, 2020 - Statement from the Richmond Commonwealth Attorney's Office
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney NYTimes Ed-OP statement - Tear Gas "had been used unintentionally" is disingenuous and lacking in transparency!
Transparency and a commitment to adherence to Constitutional restraints and the law and is the best way to protect our minority communities and all of the Commonwealth’s citizens. And that must start at the top, from the Mayor’s office and work its way all the way down to the cop walking the beat. Contrary to the Mayor’s statement, the use of tear gas was intentional and wrong.
The City of Richmond has failed to accept responsibility as evidenced by the fact that it has not resolved the protest litigation related to the Lee Monument protest, that it has not agreed to transparency, but it still hides behind a protective order. Mayor Stoney speaks of working to address 400 years of injustice, but as Mayor of the City of Richmond he is not prepared to take the first step to provide justice to the peaceful protestors who were actually making a difference. Mayor Stoney, talk is cheap – its time for the City of Richmond to act, at the very least, start with baby steps – provide justice to those peaceful protestors wronged just 1 year ago, instead of devoting so much time and money to denial, lining the pockets of defense attorneys.
4/23/2021 - Thomas H Roberts & Associates PC ask the court to permit greater access to information in discovery!
4/23/2021 --- Blackwood plaintiffs, by counsel-Thomas H. Roberts & Associates, PC, and move to modify the orders of June 26, 2020, July 6, 2020, and December 10, 2020, related to discovery. In the interim, the civil rights law firm of Thomas H. Roberts & Associates, PC has conducted detailed analysis of the events and continues to advocate to hold the officers accountable and to provide transparency.
12/10/2020 --- The District Court approved a joint discovery plan.
11/18/2020 --- Mark E. Rubin to serve as Special Master for the purposes of mediating a settlement in these consolidated actions
"This has to stop!"
Virginia Lawmakers REJECTED Bill That Bans Qualified Immunity for Cops
Bill Has Failed
|08/14/2020||Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 08/18/20 20200380D|
|08/14/2020||Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice|
|08/25/2020||Impact statement from DPB (HB5013)|
|08/26/2020||Reported from Courts of Justice (12-Y 9-N) (see vote tally)|
|08/28/2020||Motion to refer to committee agreed to|
|08/28/2020||Referred to Committee on Appropriations|
|08/28/2020||Read first time|
|08/31/2020||Failed to report (defeated) in Appropriations (11-Y 11-N)|
The judge invented doctrine to protect law enforcement officers is coming under scrutiny. On August 4, 2020, federal judge Carlton W. Reeves in the Southern District of Mississippi wrote:
The Constitution says everyone is entitled to equal protection of the law – even at the hands of law enforcement. Over the decades, however, judges have invented a legal doctrine to protect law enforcement officers from having to face any consequences for wrongdoing. The doctrine is called “qualified immunity.” In real life it operates like absolute immunity.
This Court agrees. Tragically, thousands have died at the hands of law enforcement over the years, and the death toll continues to rise. Countless more have suffered from other forms of abuse and misconduct by police. Qualified immunity has served as a shield for these officers, protecting them from accountability.
This Court is required to apply the law as stated by the Supreme Court. Under that law, the officer who transformed a short traffic stop into an almost two-hour, life-altering ordeal is entitled to qualified immunity. The officer’s motion seeking as much is therefore granted.
Jamison v. McClendon, No. 3:16-CV-595-CWR-LRA, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139327, at *4 (S.D. Miss. Aug. 4, 2020)
Judge John A. Gibney assigned to the case
Case Reassigned to District Judge John A. Gibney, Jr.. District Judge Henry E. Hudson no longer assigned to the case. (smej, )
Court Document 30 Filed 07/21/20
Judge Hudson Recuses Himself
Even though a Judge may be impartial, the public perception is also important, and to avoid the appearance of impartiality due to a prior working relationship with former police chief William Smith, Judge Hudson recused himself.
Judge Novak No Longer on the Case
Judge Novak rucuses himself because the Former Chief of Police objects as his nephew works as an officer for the Richmond Police Department. The case was assigned to Judge Hudson, but with his ties to the Former Chief of Police, he will likely recuse himself as well.
The Identity of the Police Officers Discovered
The City of Richmond Police Department has provided counsel with a list of names of Richmond Police Officers involved at the Lee Memorial on June 1, 2020. The identities of the officers is subject to a protective order at this time, but available to counsel who continue to investigate the matter.