Transparency News, 11/24/20


 November 24, 2020
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state & local news stories
Body camera footage documenting last summer’s officer-involved shooting in Roanoke was released Monday in response to media requests. The Roanoke Police Department, citing the importance of transparency, agreed to release the video after the conclusion of a months-long outside investigation conducted by the Virginia State Police and reviewed by the commonwealth’s attorney. The police department cited transparency and community trust in explaining its decision to grant the request to release the footage. The move does not mean future videos or case materials will automatically be released, administrators said.
The Roanoke Times

Two senior executives at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport have been put on paid administrative leave during an investigation into an undisclosed “serious allegation” involving them, airport officials said Monday. On leave are Timothy Bradshaw, the executive director of the airport, and Richard Osborne, director of planning and engineering. The probe is expected to take several weeks, officials said. According to a news release issued by airport spokeswoman Rachel Spencer, the commission that owns and operates the airport “was made aware of a serious allegation of a procedural nature involving the Executive Director and Director of Planning and Engineering.” In a subsequent closed meeting Friday, commission members chose to investigate and to put Bradshaw and Osborne on leave “to protect the integrity of this process and to enable an unbiased, thorough and efficient review of the facts,” Spencer said. “Even though this is an internal personnel matter, it’s important for everyone to know,” said Gary Powers, chairman of the commission.
The Roanoke Times


editorials & columns
In transparency there is trust. So we were glad to learn that the Richmond Police Department (RPD) made the wise decision this past week to publicly identify the members of its new advisory panel. In October, Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith announced the creation of the department’s External Advisory Committee. But he didn’t reveal who serves on the group, citing concerns from most members of potential harassment for cooperating with police. We called for an immediate release of the names in the interest of public accountability. How can a public department form a group and not disclose its membership? “We’re trying to get all the answers we can so we can hold the committee accountable, hold the police accountable,” member Johnny Newman told Williams. “We can do a lot more by working together.” So true. Transparency is key to the committee’s success. Public business must be publicly conducted. We look forward to hearing about the group’s work and hopes it forges greater trust between the department and city residents.
Richmond Times-Dispatch