Charlottesville Mayor Walker Questions Firing of City Police Chief

Oct 5, 2021

Monday's virtual Charlottesville City Council meeting stretched well into the night as the mayor pushed for public answers as to why the police chief was fired, and whether the chief's race contributed to how she was perceived.


Charlottesville City Manager Chip Boyles fired Police Chief RaShall Brackney just over a month ago, prompting Mayor Nikuyah Walker's decision not to run for reelection this fall. During Monday's city council meeting, Boyles revealed more details about his decision, including interviews he had with officers after two surveys -- one conducted within the police department and one by the Virginia Police Benevolent Association -- brought up internal dissatisfaction with Brackney.

CHIP BOYLES: It was my understanding that some of the leadership positions were not going to be staying, actually, if Chief Brackney were staying.

In a discussion that stretched past midnight, Mayor Walker grilled Boyles on the information he received from officers, as well as Councilor Heather Hill on her support of the decision.

HEATHER HILL:  These concerns are not new. They're not new to the city manager. They're not new to two city managers. They're concerns that have been there.

Walker asked how they could expect to hire a reform-minded police chief after this.

NIKUYAH WALKER:  If you thought she should not have remained in the position, you should have had a conversation with her … Have I made 100% of the right decisions? No. Have you all made 100% of the right decisions? No, you haven't. But again, your white gaze gets to determine who wins in a situation like this.

The other councilors did not outright defend or denounce Boyles' decision. For WMRA News, I'm Randi B. Hagi.