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Former Charlottesville Police Chief Brackney files complaint with EEOC for alleged wrongful termination

Brackney was fired from her position Sept. 1 by then-City Manager Chip Boyles, who resigned a month later

Brackney announced to media that she had been slandered by city leaders following her termination and accused Boyes and many members of City Council of collusion in their efforts to fire her.
Brackney announced to media that she had been slandered by city leaders following her termination and accused Boyes and many members of City Council of collusion in their efforts to fire her.

Former Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney stood in front of Charlottesville City Hall Tuesday morning and demanded $3 million in compensation from the City for her claim of wrongful termination. Brackney has filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

Brackney, Charlottesville’s first Black female police chief, was fired Sept. 1 by then-city manager Chip Boyles. Boyles did not provide a reason for Brackney’s termination, but said the decision came after the results of a police department survey revealed that a majority of police officers thought the department lacked leadership. 

The City’s first Black female mayor, Nikuyah Walker, was angered by Boyles’ move, noting that the firing may have been racially driven. Walker called Brackney one of only “a handful of people who’ve been working on breaking down institutional racism.” Boyles resigned a month later after just eight months in office, citing conflicts with Walker. Marc Wooley, former business administrator for the city of Harrisburg, has been appointed the new city manager. 

Along with attorney Charles Tucker from The Cochran Firm, Brackney said Tuesday that City leaders had damaged her reputation following her termination and accused Boyles and many members of City Council of collusion in their efforts to fire her. 

“I continue to experience and I’m subjected to humiliating acts of discrimination, continued disparate treatment, harassment and retaliation all of which result in an undue stress and continue to create a hostile work environment for me,” Brackney said. “I’ve had to sit in silence, as these baseless attacks and the public messaging have suggested that my contract was terminated for cause, and this has been demeaning.”

Brackney alleged that she was “not deemed ‘a good fit’” for the City because of her attempts at dismantling “racism, misogyny, nepotism and police violence,” adding that she was punished while those who support and benefit from “systems of supremacy” have been rewarded. 

If the City does not respond to her demands quickly enough, Brackney and Tucker said they will consider taking the case to court. Those who wish to file a lawsuit alleging discrimination on the grounds of Title VII — which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of “race, color, religion, sex and national origin” — must first file a charge with the EEOC, which then conducts an investigation. 

Brackney has also filed complaints with the Charlottesville Office of Human Rights and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for alleged workplace discrimination. 

Prior to the news conference, the Charlottesville Human Rights Commission sent a letter to City Council expressing that the organization was “deeply concerned” about Brackney’s firing and “the departure of many other individuals of color from the City.” 

The letter cites that many employees of color have left positions recently, which continues a trend of City employees of color resigning or being fired. Since 2018, the City has seen six different city managers.

“Our discussions with current staff of color reveal that many staff feel undervalued and forgotten, as there is keen interest focused on those who have left, and little attention paid to those who remain,” the letter reads.

The letter urges City Council to publicly reveal the reasons for Brackney’s termination, or the trust communities of color have for the city will be placed in jeopardy. 

“The City, they sent a very clear message — a message that proclaims throughout CPD and City Hall that the good-old-boy system of patronage and insularity are alive and well in Charlottesville,” Brackney said.

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