By Andrew Jackson
It’s been two weeks since the arrest of D’Vondray Terrell McIntyre. There are both witness accounts and vivid video of the arrest.
While I and others understand that this event is cause for an investigation, the question is, with the video and witness statements, how long should this take? To date, there has been no firm statement from (Police) Chief Cervera.
With the above noted, there has been a much talked about efforts to create an atmosphere of trust and to bring law enforcement and community together. I personally have been present at no less than two events where the chief has discussed new training of officers and efforts to reach out to the community, especially the African-American community. Even the inference that no bad behavior is acceptable. Will this issue bring out the truth?
With the recent events around the country involving police behavior regarding African-Americans, most notably Ferguson, New York, Cleveland, and Baltimore, there has been more scrutiny towards abusive policing. These events range from police unprofessional behavior on the light side to just plain criminal acts of behavior. With very few exceptions, these behaviors have gone unpunished. Have we forgotten no one is above the law. NO ONE!
In view of the above, my first question would be for either the Chief or the Deputy Chief for professional standards. Does the “new” training cover the type of behavior exhibited during the arrest of Mr. McIntyre?
My second question is directed to Mr. Stolle, the Commonwealth Attorney: You stated no criminal behavior was exhibited. Have you reviewed City Code 23-11 Assault and Battery and/or State Code §18.2-57 Assault and battery?
There is video evidence that while Mr. McIntyre was physically restrained and subdued by two officers – on the ground face down – a third officer came in, drew back his knee and forcefully used it to hit the head of a defenseless Mr. McIntyre. This act was repeated two more times without any regard to the possibility of head, neck or possible spine injury. It was an unnecessary, violent, vicious, cowardly, and criminal act of assault and battery.
Mr. Stolle, both State and City codes state: Any person who commits a simple assault or assault and battery is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor
For those addressed that are not familiar, assault/battery is committed when one person tries to or does physically strike another. Also, generally the main distinction between an assault and a battery is that no contact is necessary for an assault, whereas an offensive or illegal contact must occur for a battery.
Now let me close all the loops: For a conviction, there are a couple of things that must exist. One is the “act” and the other is “intent.” The “act” of assault requires an overt or direct act that would put any reasonable person in fear for their safety. In order to commit an assault, an individual need only have “general intent.” When the officer drew back his knee and directed it toward Mr. McIntyre’s head, that was the “act”? The fact that he drew back his knee and repeated the act three times indicates “intent.” A battery offense requires three specific things: (1) intentional touching; (2) must be harmful or offensive; (3) no consent from the victim.
Therefore Mr. Stolle, the video well documents all that is necessary for the criminal act of “assault and battery.” Sir, I am not an attorney, but I do read, and we do have law libraries available, with Regent University having one of the best.
I know more than a few of the city’s police officers. Also, I would dare say that most of this city’s police are good people and because of that, we have a pretty safe environment. That said, the behavior of a few bad apples, that hide behind a uniform and a badge cast a grey cloud of distrust and bad feelings over all the good that is done by the good guys.
The criminal and cowardly act of this officer is a disservice not only to the community but to his fellow officers that work hard every shift to keep us all safe and build trust.
Mr. Stolle and Chief Cervera, we are better than Ferguson. We are better than Cleveland. We are better than New York and Baltimore. It’s time to do the right thing!
Andrew Jackson, Chair
VB African-American Leadership Forum