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Judge dismisses former Charlottesville Police Chief Brackney’s racial discrimination suit

A district court judge this week threw out former Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney’s lawsuit that alleged city officials discriminated against her based on her race and gender when they fired her in 2021.

Brackney’s suit made numerous allegations against nine city officials and a police union head, among them that those individuals conspired to have her fired because of her race and gender, and in retaliation for her decision to discipline white officers.

Shortly before her firing, Brackney said she learned that members of her department’s SWAT team were engaging in “disturbing behaviors” while on duty. After an investigation, she disbanded the unit and several officers were either fired or resigned.

Judge Norman K. Moon rejected five of the 11 counts brought by Brackney, saying that she did not present enough facts to support her case.

“It would be disingenuous to say I am disappointed with the Judge’s decision — this is Charlottesville — I would not expect anything less. Our team understands the racial politics of police reform and anti-blackness in the US, and notably, its influences on every institution, including the courts.”

Brackney said in a statement

Brackney’s attorney conceded the remaining six counts, which means they will no longer pursue them.

Charlottesville officials claimed to have supported Brackney’s actions against the SWAT team but maintained there were morale issues in the police force.

The chief allegedly had a tense relationship with some city staffers, and top officers were considering quitting if she remained in the position of leadership.

Moon concluded that Brackney had not presented enough evidence to support her claims that her termination violated the state’s whistleblower statute.

He determined that the former chief also failed to provide enough evidence to back her claims of racial and gender bias or defamation by city officials.

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Written by Jamil Johnson