RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Virginia mother’s fight for justice continues nearly six weeks after her son was shot and killed by state troopers. The mother of Xzavier Hill has launched a new billboard campaign, hoping to grab the nation’s attention.
“Release the tapes, release the tapes–what do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now,” protesters chant.
Those cries of justice that rang out in January are now bleeding into February. Supporters and advocates gathered in downtown Richmond on Saturday night demanding Virginia State Police release dash cam video, showing exactly what happened on January 9th.
State troopers tried to initiate a traffic stop, pulling over 18-year-old Xzavier Hill on Interstate-64 around 4 a.m. Hill accelerated to a high rate of speed and eventually slid down an embankment in Goochland County.
VSP says Hill flashed a gun and they shot him, however Latoya Benton, Hill’s mother, has watched the dash cam video and is directly disputing police claims of what happened. Benton told 8News her son was speeding and did accelerate, but did not have a weapon.
“They’re hiding something,” said Benton. “They want to paint the whole typical picture of oh a black man had a gun. Nothing can justify what they did.”
It’s been forty-five days since the incident and Benton is continuing to put pressure on authorities. Protests are still happening in several cities across the state and Benton has recently launched a billboard campaign.
At the intersection of West Broad Street and Hampstead Avenue in Richmond, residents will notice an image of Hill rotating on a digital billboard. The slide reads #JusticeForXzavier with ‘paid for by Latoya Benton’ underneath.
Benton is hoping to raise awareness about the sudden death of her son nationwide. The billboards are currently up in Atlanta, Charlotte, Columbia-South Carolina, and Greensville. The goal is to expand to other major cities in the near future.
“My baby is in a box, my baby is in a box,” Benton cried as she talked on Facebook Live after the incident.
8News has also been pressing authorities for answers. Last month we filed a Freedom Of Information Act request to view the footage for ourselves, however it was denied. For the last six weeks, 8News has reached out to VSP officials and the Goochland County Commonwealth’s attorney. However, it was stated that ‘the criminal investigation is ongoing’.
In another attempt on Wednesday, a VSP spokesperson released information, providing insight on the hold-up of the investigation. VSP says a lot of things are out of their control such as the final medical examiner’s report, forensic lab analysis and toxicology reports. VSP could not tell 8News when the investigation will be complete.
The criminal justice investigation is a comprehensive, detailed and lengthy process that requires the preservation of video, documentation, interviews, forensic lab analysis, etc. Upholding the integrity of the ongoing investigative process is paramount to ensuring that justice is achieved for all parties involved in this incident – Mr. Hill and the troopers.
Comprehensive, detailed investigations take time to complete and several of the components necessary to complete an investigation are outside of our control – i.e. medical examiner’s final report, forensic and toxicology lab analysis, etc. For that reason, the state police is not releasing any video or documentation at this time.Virginia State Police Spokesperson