RICHMOND, Va. -- The future of the Richmond Police Athletic League (PAL) is in limbo after eight board members suddenly resigned last month due to concerns regarding the nonprofit's finances and an incident involving its officers and a 12-year-old child with autism.
Richmond PAL is a 501C3 organization dedicated to bridging the gap between police and the kids of our local communities through sports and engagement, according to their website.
Emails obtained by CBS 6 show multiple members of the Richmond PAL board raised concerns in March about the way the non-profit was handling its finances.
Board Chair Torey Edmonds made a motion in mid-March to temporarily suspend all programs hosted and coordinated by Richmond PAL and said she wanted an accounting firm to perform a forensic audit.
"I just don't see how we can legitimately move forward with any program to help kids when our financial house is in disarray," Edmonds wrote in an email.
Board member Tony Pham seconded the motion, and it passed on March 14.
Within the next two days, six board members resigned, including Edmonds and Pham.
One day prior to the vote to suspend all programs, another board member, resigned stating in his resignation email that he had concerns about the "financial processes that are in place, or lack thereof."
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That board member also stated "the situation with the autistic young man is another area of concern for me."
That situation is something CBS 6 has been reporting on since December.
It left a 12-year-old boy with autism in handcuffs with a concussion during the incident on Nov. 3.
When Sheila Jackson showed up at the VCU tennis courts to pick her son up from the after school tennis program there, she found several officers from the Richmond PAL holding her son down on the ground.
Those officers volunteer at the tennis program.
Jackson said she is still not sure why he was handcuffed, and what exactly happened that caused him to get a concussion.
A spokeswoman for RPD said Richmond Police conducted an internal investigation and have referred the case to the Commonwealth's Attorney for criminal review.
She also said RPD submitted the case for an independent review and an assessment of the conduct of their officers.
Sources told CBS 6 the Richmond PAL board tried repeatedly to get information from the police department about what exactly happened, but they were never able to, and, instead, all the facts they ever got came from our reporting.
CBS 6 reached out to Richmond Police to find out if Richmond PAL programs will continue this year, and spokeswoman, Tracy Walker, said the department is in the process of reassembling the board and restructuring its youth program.
Walker said Richmond's PAL summer camp will be rescheduled in anticipation of resuming activities as soon as possible.
"This pause in operation comes after a year of status-quo activity following COVID-19 and recently the departure of some volunteer PAL leadership," Walker said.
"RPD is continuing to look at improvements that will align operations and functions with the Departments’ mission and core values. As we look to rebrand and rebuild our influence in the community, members of RPD will attend the upcoming National Police Athletic League Training and Conference to learn from successful PAL organizations from across the country and to adopt best practices."
An eighth board member resigned on March 1.
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