Ex PD chief accuses City of lying, City buys a parking lot, and A12 in the trees on the DTM
As we watch the January 6 hearings, the idea that a current city employee’s open participation in the insurrection was treated with so little concern, and remained completely unknown until former Police Chief RaShall Brackey revealed that information on Twitter, should give us all something to think about. Meanwhile, let’s hope we all don’t float away in all this rain!
BREAKING: City to select police chief search firm by the end of the month. “Rather than busting people’s heads, we’re looking for ways to have more community based policing,” says Mayor Llyod Snook. Read more from Charlotte Rene Woods.
Former police chief accuses City of lying about city employee who participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection
Former Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney recently claimed that she reported a current city employee to the FBI after she learned the person had entered the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021, and after then Assist. Chief Jim Mooney refused to do so.
In response, Mayor Llyod Snook flatly dismissed Brackney’s claims, telling NBC29, “After the referral to the FBI, this employee - who self-identifies as a freelance photographer - and it said the reason I [the employee] was there was because I was doing a freelance photography thing…this person, was interviewed by the FBI. The FBI has never notified the city of any arrest or criminal charges or any potential threat to the city organization or to the general public.”
Journalist and activist Molly Conger then posted social media posts and videos of current city employee Allen Groat, an IT support specialist for the fire and police departments, supporting the Jan. 6 insurrection ( “So excited to join all the #Patriors as we support @POTUS by show of force on #Jan6,” writes Groat on Jan3 2021 ) and entering the Capitol building. Conger also reported that Groat was on probation for a 2020 road rage incident during which it was alleged he pulled a gun on a woman at a red light.
Brackney then responded to Snook by saying, “City lying…we heard back. @FBIRichmond interviewed Asst Chief & claimed arrest pending. Boyles & IT director were informed the employee was dangerous & to revoke his IT access/privileges. Instead @cvillepolice & @CvilleCityHall revoked my access/privileges.”
During a June 21 City Council meeting, Conger reported that Snook said, "I did not know anything about the fella that had apparently been in the capitol on January 6th" until the recent stories…”
However, Brackney later posted a January 2021 redacted correspondence from former Asst. Chief Jim Mooney to then-city attorney John Blair. Mooney had questioned a man who “serves as IT’s “Public Safety” liaison with the Police and Fire Departments.” The man, who we now know to be Allen Groat, appears to have told Mooney a whopper… that he was "an independent journalist and photographer and was present with other members of the media" and that he left immediately when Capitol Police asked him to after “others in the Capitol became disorderly.” Mooney accepted that explanation and determined that Groat participated in no criminal activity.
Following the discoveries about Groat made by Conger, Snook told C-Ville Weekly that he had only resently seen the memo that Mooney sent to Blair (see below), and tried to explained his intial response by saying that "we were trying to piece together the story from dim memories of those not directly involved."
“In my opinion, what she’s hoping to do is to scare the city, to shake the city into paying her a lot of money so that she won’t go forward with these threats to air all this dirty linen.” - C-VILLE Weekly legal analyst Scott Goodman, commenting on the federal lawsuit former Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney recently filed.
City buys parking lot
City Council allocated $1.65M for the purchase of a 0.40 acre, 39-space asphalt parking lot at 921 East Jefferson Street to “address current and future parking capacity issues.” The property was last sold in 1985 for $175,000.00.
Local photojournalist proposes A12 memorial
City Council approved a plan by photojournalist Eze Amos to create an August 12 photographic memorial in the trees on the Downtown Mall. There will be up to 16 printed photographs on vinyl attached to and displayed, similar to what was done during the now-defunct LOOK Festival of the Photograph. Additionally, QR codes will allow viewers to listen to stories about the photos.
From the proposal: “National media outlets have portrayed our community in negative ways and overlooked all of the ways we’ve moved toward a better understanding of one another and our city’s history. This project allows our community to share their personal stories that are unseen and untold, giving voice and opportunities to share stories beyond the media’s narrative.”
Apparently, it's up to a local photojournalist to mark the five-year anniversary of A12, or get the community to move toward a more permanent memorial or annual event, because city leaders don't appear inclined to do so.
“There are a number of folks who feel that we shouldn’t be looking to do really much of anything," Mayor Llyod Snook told the Daily Progress recently. "There’s not a lot of appetite in Charlottesville for ‘Hey, let’s relive the glory days of five years ago.’ What that means in practice, we haven’t decided yet."
At City Council’s June 21 meeting, however, Councilor Michael Payne expressed a desire to have a more permanent memorial.
“The events of Aug. 11 and 12 continue to define the past several years in our community, and our politics. I think it’s something we should memorialize,” he said.
10 department leaders?
In a story on the $10M federal lawsuit that former Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney has filed against the City and a number of city officials, The Daily Progress reported that former Charlottesville City Manager Chip Boyles explained in an op-ed in the DP that he fired Brackney “after at least 10 department leaders" said they were going to leave because of her leadership. However, nowhere in the op-ed does it say that “at least 10 department leaders" said they were going to leave.