HENRICO COUNTY, Va. — Virginia State Senator Joe Morrissey (D - Richmond) has been banned from the Henrico jail facilities for 90 days after an incident involving his children, according to Henrico Sheriff Alisa Gregory.
The situation unfolded Saturday morning, January 28, when Morrissey left "three young children" unattended in the Jail West lobby while he and an associate met with a person who was in custody, according to Gregory.
"On multiple occasions during the visit, deputies and other members of the Sheriff’s Office staff attempted to resolve the situation amicably by advising Mr. Morrissey that minor children always must be accompanied by an adult at our jail facilities, including the lobby and parking lot. This policy ensures the safety and security of the minors as well as members of our staff, visitors, and others," Gregory said in a statement about the incident. "Despite our staff’s efforts, Mr. Morrissey refused repeated requests to comply and eventually became verbally abusive, made threatening remarks, and acted in an aggressive manner to a lieutenant."
A video of the interaction was provided to CBS 6 and also posted on social media.
"Due to his actions, Mr. Morrissey’s privileges to visit Henrico’s Jail West and Jail East facilities will be suspended for 90 days," Gregory's statement continued. "Our staff will contact Mr. Morrissey to advise him of the suspension’s effective date."
In an emailed statement to CBS 6, Morrissey's office said the state Senator was at the jail attending to Senate business, and during that visit "an uninformed guard told Senator Morrissey that he could not be at the jail."
According to the statement, Morrissey called Sheriff Gregory who, according to the video, told the guard that "Morrissey could remain at the jail."
A detailed accounting of events was provided in an official statement from the sheriff's office:
On January 28, 2023, at approximately 1058 hours, Joe Morrisey [sic] entered the facility with 3 small children (2 males and 1 female).
At approximately 1100 hours, he approached the window of Central Control and spoke with Deputy Olsen while the children remained seated in the Lobby.
At approximately 1107 hours, Morrisey [sic] enters visitation to speak with his client.
At approximately 1112 hours, the children could be seen sitting on the table near the door of Alternative Sentencing and playing in the lobby.
At approximately 1119 hours, the child that appears to be the youngest turns out the lights in the lobby utilizing the light switch near the breakroom door. At approximately 1120 hours, he turns the lights out utilizing the light switch next to visitation and the front desk.
At approximately 1120:57 hours, Lt. E. Brown exit [sic] Central Control and advised the child that he could not play with the light switch and to have a seat. Lt. Brown walked towards the door of Visitation and the child attempted to follow, Lt. Brown turned towards him and instructed the child to have a seat.
Lt. Brown entered visitation and asked Morrisey [sic] to step to the lobby. While walking towards the Lobby, Lt. Brown explained the situation and Morrisey advised that she should put a serious look on her face and threatened to place handcuffs on the child. Lt. Brown replied, “oh no I don’t play with the kids, I love the babies”.
Once we exited the visitation hallway, Morrisey [sic] approached the children and advised them to remain seated and color. He also advised the older male to look out for his brother and if he has to return to the lobby they will be in big trouble. Morrisey [sic] returns to his contact visit.
Moments later, the children began to play in the lobby area. They were running around, climbing on tables and chairs, and using the monitor to draw pictures.
At approximately 1151 hours, Lt. Brown observed the youngest child exit the facility and walk through the parking lot.
Lt. Brown exited Central Control and reported to the parking lot and retrieved the child. Lt. Brown approached the child and told him to get out of the street because it’s dangerous and he could get hit by a car. He looked around and stated, “the cars aren’t moving.”
Lt Brown advised the child to return to the lobby and have a seat.
At approximately 1155 hours, the youngest child attempted to enter the booking area.
At approximately 1156 hours, I Lt. Carey entered the front lobby of Henrico Jail West due to receiving a phone stating that a young child attempted to exit the facility without an adult presence. While attempting to exit sallyport 109 another child was standing in the way of the sliding door yelling “let me in, let me in.”
I Lt. Carey asked the child to not stand at the door and to please go have a seat. Once entering the lobby, I observed where the lobby chairs had been moved around, the smartboard had drawings of rainbows and arrows on it, another child throwing a football in the lobby, another female child talking to what I found out to be a male workforce inmate.
I Lt. Carey then contacted on call Major Pickens and informed her of what was taking place in the front lobby. One of the children in the lobby stated “my daddy is in the back seeing bad guys.”
I Lt. Carey then entered the attorney hallway and observed Senator Joe Morrissey and attorney Elliot Bender meeting with their client. I Lt. Carey informed Senator Morrissey that his children were in the lobby unattended attempting to exit the lobby and enter the secure area of the jail.
Senator Morrissey then exited the attorney hallway and entered the lobby.
Once inside the lobby, Morrissey began speaking to the children in a firm tone stating that they were shellfish (sic) and that this was the 2nd time he had to come out and get them.
I Lt. Carey informed Morrissey that he could not leave his children unattended in the lobby and offered to retrieve his belongs [sic] from the back. Morrissey stated “no I’m going back to finish meeting with my client for another 15 min, you need to work this out why can’t you watch them, are you going to be out here.”
I Lt. Carey then informed Morrissey that I would not be watching his children and that he could not leave his children unattended in the lobby.
Morrissey replied “I’ll do what I want I can just send them to the car how about that.”
Morrissey then walked to the front door opened the door and told all 3 children to go to the car and to not get out while he continued to meet with his client while pushing them out the door. All 3 children exited the front lobby without an adult present and proceeded to the vehicle parked in the parking lot alone.
During this time, I Lt. Carey informed central to not let Morrissey in the back due to the children being left unattended in a vehicle in the parking lot. While the children exit the facility before they could get off the side walk Morrissey was back in the lobby walking towards door 154.
Once Mr. Morrissey was denied access he then walked in an aggressive manner towards me and stated “did you tell them not to let me in.” I Lt. Carey stated “yes sir you can not leave children unattended in the parking lot.” Morrissey stated “f*** you, you don’t tell me what to do with my f***ing kids. You are nothing but a f***ing deputy. I tell you what I’m going to call the sheriff and show you who I am.”
At this point Morrissey had walked aggressively towards me yelling at me.
I Lt. Carey took one step back attempting to get Morrissey out of my personal space. Morrissey then closed the distance again asking me who the f*** do you think I am and that he was calling the sheriff.
I Lt. Carey informed Morrissey that he needed to exit the facility due to his actions. Morrissey replied “I aint going no f***ing where f*** you I’m calling the sheriff.”
I Lt. Carey stated I don’t care who you call you cannot leave your children unattended in this lobby or the parking lot.
Mr. Morrissey then call [sic] Sheriff Gregory putting her on speaker phone explaining to her what transpired in his words in the lobby. Sheriff Gregory informed him that he could not leave his children unattended in the lobby of the sheriff’s office or unattended in the car.
Senator Morrissey stated that he would send attorney Elliot Bender to the vehicle to watch the children while he continued to meet with an inmate and ended the phone call with the Sheriff. Approximately 4 minutes later attorney Binder exit door 154 and proceeded to the car.
Due to Morrissey having his 3 small children with him I Lt. Carey gave him grace and mercy and did not place him under arrest for disorderly conduct.
During this time attorney [name redacted] was present and witnessed all the mentioned above.
Approximately 20 minutes later the mother of the children Marina Morrisey [sic] entered the lobby and attempted to speak with myself in efforts to gain information.
I Lt. Carey informed Mrs. Morrisey [sic] that I strongly encourage her to speak with the investigations department of the Henrico Sheriff’s Office first thing Monday morning but could not go into details with her as to what took place. Mrs. Morrisey [sic] thanked me and exit the facility.
At 1413 hours I Lt. Carey received a phone call from the attorney of Mrs. Morrisey [sic] attorney asking for information. I Lt. Carey also informed her that she needed to speak with our investigations department.
Mrs. White informed me that CPS has been notified and will be contacting someone here at the sheriff’s office and thanked me for handling myself in a professional matter and ended the phone call.
This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email email@example.com to send a tip.
EAT IT, VIRGINIA restaurant news and interviews