Interim Richmond Police Chief won't answer questions about 2002 shooting

Posted at 11:11 AM, Jun 20, 2020

RICHMOND, Va. -- Interim Richmond Police Chief Jody Blackwell refused to answer questions about a 2002 police shooting in Richmond during which he killed another man.

"It's a completely different situation," he responded when asked about shooting during his introductory press conference last week. "As I said before, we're not going to go into any details associated with it because that's not what we're here for today."

Blackwell, who was an officer at the time, shot Jeramy Gilliam while investigating a burglary near Byrd Park.

At the time. Richmond Police said Gilliam drew gun when Blackwell asked him to show his identification.

Investigators said the two men fought and Blackwell was forced to fire his gun.

The autopsy later showed Gilliam died from two gunshot wounds to the back.

In a statement provided to CBS 6 at the time, the police department said the location of Gilliam's gunshot wounds were consistent with the nature of the struggle that occurred between him and Blackwell.

The case ultimately went before a Grand Jury and, according to online court records, the Grand Jury chose not to indict Blackwell, thus clearing him of any wrongdoing.

Blackwell has been with Richmond Police ever since.

The Associated Press reported in 2002 that the Richmond office of the FBI also launched an investigation into the shooting at the request of the NAACP.

The findings of that investigation were not released.

When CBS 6 reached out to Richmond Police for answers, a Richmond Police spokesperson said the information about the shooting was part of Chief Blackwell's personnel file and not subject to release.

When asked about the shooting, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said he was aware of Chief Blackwell's record and that he supported the chief.

Stoney chose Blackwell to replace Richmond Police Chief William Smith.

Smith, who was on the job for less than a year, was forced to resign after weeks of protests and marches against police brutality.

Smith was criticized by some members of the community for the way Richmond Police reacted to protesters and statements he made about protester arrests that did not appear to be accurate.

At Blackwell's press conference, members of the Richmond Police Department wore shirts that expressed solidarity and support for Smith.



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