City Council Recap - January 13, 2020

The meeting started with the Invocation, offered by Reverend Charles "Charlie" T. Dupree of St. Paul's Episcopal Church)

The first of the awards was to recognize, honor and celebrate the Richmond Department of Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities Richmond Southside Community Center Under 12 Youth Football Program - Duck Football Team. In Richmond the team was undefeated, and went on to the snoop football National Championship in Los Angeles. This is only the second time this has happened.

Councilman Jones spoke the youth, but also called for the parents as well. He congratulated the boys, and also applauded the coaches. He told the boys to be the young men the coaches and parents want them to be. He stated that while they will only be playing football for so long, they will be men forever, so they must keep themselves strong and dignified for the future.

The Cheer Squad of the Richmond Department of Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities Richmond Southside Community Center Under 12 Youth was also celebrated. As the girls were from three different districts, Councilmembers Jones, Hilbert, and Robertson came up to honor them. Jones requested for them to do a cheer, which was met with great applause.

Moving on to citizen comments, the first of which was James Minor. He was frustrated at how divided the city felt, between white, black, and brown. Rich, poor, and in-between. He pushed for economic development, more jobs, etc. He no longer wants the city stuck in the 20th century, and wishes for more people to speak of the issue of poverty.

Sandra Antoine also came to speak. She thanked the mayor, seeing him as a visionary. She comments on how New York says that the city is # 39 of the 52 top places to wine and dine in the country. However, she also pushes her concerns, stating that the children need better.

Charles Willis came up, along with the mothers and fathers of homicide victims. He is the executive director of the United communities against crime. He spoke of how tragically common the stories of homicide are, and how the city must work to fix these issues. Councilwoman Trammel asked him to let other members know that what needs to be put into the cause to help, as she has recognized that the Sound system doesn’t work, etc. She asks, where will the donations go? Willis assures her that steps are taken to fix the technical difficulties and that donations will be used well. Councilmembers Jones, Hilbert, and Newbile expressed that they would provide support in any way they can.

Citizen Kanika McBride shared her terrifying encounter with police officers that left her children with trauma. On July 16, 2019, her 17 year old daughter had a Stop the violence Basketball game in which the Richmond police were invited to come, so none showed up. A month later, the 17 year old daughter, her 18 year old friend, and McBride’s 19 year old nephew, in their car, rad the Richmond police swarm them and pull guns. Her nephew was in handcuffs. The girls were being detained. McBride, absolutely distraught, found out that this was over an alleged stolen bike. She asks that such stories like hers can never happen again.

Kim Rolla, an attorney with the legal aid justice center civil rights and legal justice program, and working with the Richmond transparency and accountability project (RTAP), spoke of police policies and procedures. She has repeatedly called for a public forum with police, given the amount of racial disparities found in who the police stop at traffic stops, etc. While a public forum was promised by the end of 2019, it has yet to happen.

Councilwoman Lynch, in response, offered to host the public forum. Councilwoman Gray understood its importance but expressed frustration in that the police and IT people need to commit. Councilwoman Trammel also asks to invite other agencies, like the commonwealth attorney.

The Chief of police spoke in response to Rolla, stating that it is a process, and it is behind schedule. More internal meetings need to done first. Councilwoman Gray urged for a preliminary meeting the police soon, as these internal meetings cannot delay for any longer.

In the process of approving the consent agenda, Councilwoman Trammel had questions about #8 of the consent agenda. Trammel says it was not fully discussed, and that some of the documents seem misplaced. Certain documents have different addresses, which is confusing. As such, the consent agenda was approved with exception to #8, which will be discussed at a later date.

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