RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Colette McEachin has chosen not to release a dozen records related to an alleged July 4th mass shooting plot, despite the fact that her office dropped charges against the two men allegedly involved.
Colette McEachin is married to Congressman Donald McEachin (D-4th), who sent the following statement on Monday when asked about Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith's decision to close the discussion on the matter.
"I believe strongly in transparency and the public's right to know. Therefore, I think, whenever possible, information should be shared with the public, especially in a situation like this that was certainly frightening.”
CBS6 problem solver Melissa Hipolit requested texts and email communications to and from Colette McEachin before and after July 4th related to the alleged plot, but Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Robert Bauer said the records are exempt from mandatory disclosure as part of a criminal investigative file.
Bauer said the 12 records that exist relate to an ongoing criminal investigation as the two men are being prosecuted in the federal courts.
The federal authorities have charged one of the men with illegal re-entry, and the other with possession of a firearm by a non-US citizen, but nothing related to an alleged mass shooting plot.
Megan Rhyne with the Virginia Coalition for Open Government said, "It's not a mandatory prohibition on release. They can release what they want."
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney opted not to share his texts and emails related to the alleged plot and said Virginia law allowed him that discretion.
Both Stoney and Colette McEachin are elected officials.
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