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Richmond Police have shot four people this year. All the shootings remain under review.

Posted at 5:48 PM, May 22, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. -- At least four times this year, a Richmond police officer has allegedly shot someone, and according to the department, all investigative reviews of the officers involved in those shootings are still underway.

Richmond Police Department spokesperson Tracy Walker said after an officer shoots a person, this is the process that follows:

  • Police conduct a criminal investigation and submit a report to the Commonwealth's Attorney
  • The Commonwealth's Attorney's Office then determines whether the officer committed a crime
  • Prosecutors will either decline prosecution or bring the case to a grand jury
  • If prosecutors find no criminal wrongdoing, RPD completes an internal investigation to see if department policies were followed

Walker said all of this year's police shootings are at various stages of that process.
Dr. William Pelfrey, policing researcher and criminal justice professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, said a majority of police shootings are found to be supported by law and policy.

"In most cases for an officer-involved shooting, that's the end of it, because it's a founded shooting. There's evidence to support the necessity of the shooting," Pelfrey said. "But in cases where the evidence is uncertain, or where it looks like it was not a supported shooting, then other investigations are going to happen.”

On January 9, police said an officer shot a man who they believed was holding a gun. They said the shooting happened as police were executing a search warrant at a home on McGuire Drive during a drugs investigation.

McGuire Drive shooting 02.png

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Richmond Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Chris Bullard said prosecutors did not find any criminal wrongdoing on the officer's part and made a decision to decline prosecution in March.

CBS 6 asked Walker if RPD completed its internal investigation into the officer involved, but she has not yet answered.

On March 31, police said officers shot and killed a man on North Avenue. They said the man had previously killed his wife that morning. The man allegedly pointed a gun at police when officers shot at him.

A man who shot his wife in South Richmond Friday morning was later shot by Richmond Police in North Richmond after he pointed a gun at officers, Crime Insider sources told Jon Burkett.

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Bullard said the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office has received a final report from RPD on this matter and will be making a determination regarding the officer later this week.

On April 22, an officer shot a man on Third Avenue.

Police initially were called to the location for a crash. As they investigated, they said a man approached holding a knife, so an officer shot him. Police did not say whether that man was involved in the crash they were called to investigate.

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Bullard said his office has received a preliminary report from RPD on this case and is still waiting for the final report.

Then, on May 2, a Richmond officer shot the driver of a cement truck after the driver led police on a chase into Henrico County. Police said an officer shot the man after his truck collided with police cruisers at Deane and Rodney roads.

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Since the shooting occurred in Henrico County, Henrico Commonwealth's Attorney Shannon Taylor said her office was conducting a review of the officer's actions and that it is still under investigation.

In April, Richmond Police announced the creation of a new transparency policy that stated the department would release video of some officer-involved shootings.

However, the policy only applies when the person who was shot by police dies. Additionally, the department can use its discretion not to release the evidence due to investigative concerns.

Richmond Police released video of the March 31 shooting since it involved fatal force. However, Walker said the department will not be releasing the video of the other police shootings.

"The policy is intended to enhance transparency, but it's a voluntary policy. So, there may be cases where the chief decides, 'we're not going to release that body-worn camera footage, we're not going to release those videos, we're not going to release the outcomes of our investigation yet,'" Pelfrey said.

He added, “For purposes of transparency, it would be more effective if it was a broader range of shootings than just shootings that result in a death, because there are way more shootings that do not result in a fatality than do result in a fatality."

And soon, there will be an extra layer of accountability for police shootings.

According to Richmond City Council's Vice President Kristen Nye, funding will become available in July for the council to begin establishing a civilian review board -- a group of citizens who will review internal police investigations, including all police shootings.

The board will be able to make policy and discipline recommendations upon its review of incidents.

“The age-old question is, who polices the police? And it's an impossible question to answer because people who don't trust the police aren't going to view a police investigation of police as having any merit," Pelfrey said. "So, an independent investigation done by civilians, by people who are not beholden to the police, should enhance accountability."

CBS 6 reached out to the council's chief of staff for an update on the progress to establish the board and is still waiting to hear back.

Depend on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for in-depth coverage of this important local story. Anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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