Richmond mayor says he knew about fatal shooting police chief was involved in before position appointment


Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. (WRIC 8News Photo)

RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) — In the 10 days Interim Police Chief William “Jody” Blackwell has served in the role, questions have swirled about his involvement in a fatal shooting back in 2002 while searching for a burglary suspect. 

Archive reports indicate the victim didn’t match the suspect description and that the gun he allegedly pointed at Blackwell was found 35 feet away, without fingerprints.

Blackwell was not charged by a grand jury.

City of Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney revealed Friday that he knew about the fatal shooting investigation before he appointed Blackwell. 

In light of this, 8News reporter Ben Dennis asked Stoney: “Why did you ultimately still decide to appoint him (Blackwell) to that position? Was that not a disqualifier to you?”

In response, Stoney says, “A grand jury of his peers did not find any reason to bring charges at the time. I think this, I think Chief Blackwell has served this community very well and his record shows that.”

Stoney appointed Blackwell interim chief after former city police chief William Smith resigned as public calls mounted for his resignation, following the initial days of unrest in Richmond.

After Stoney announced a pick for the city’s next top cop, he said Blackwell will return to his position as Major once the new chief takes over.

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