In the City of Charlottesville’s first response to former Chief of Charlottesville Police RaShall Brackney’s $10 million prejudice case alleging racial and gender discrimination in termination, the City has asked the federal judge to dismiss the case.
Brackney’s attorney Charles Tucker, Jr. claims the defendants fired Brackney due to discrimination based on race and sex and engaged in an orchestrated plot to remove Brackney from her post. Brackney was fired roughly three years after the beginning of her tenure in 2018.
In an email to The Cavalier Daily, Tucker explained that he feels the lawsuit has factual basis and that Brackney was fired under false pretenses of ineffectiveness. He characterized the City’s request as “weak” and said he will continue to seek justice for Brackney.
“We are ready to move forward and prove every single claim in our complaint,” Tucker said. “The City's filing of these motions to dismiss is a very weak attempt to discredit our case. We are seeking justice for our client and will be doing everything we can to ensure she gets it.”
Brackney filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and demanded $3 million from the City of Charlottesville for her claim of wrongful termination last November.
They gave the City 180 days to respond to Brackney’s claims. According to Tucker, the City never contacted him.
Brackney announced she was suing the City for gender and racial discrimination June 15. The lawsuit alleges racial and gender discrimination, interference, retaliation, defamation and violation of the Freedom of Information Act, which requires disclosure of government information and documents upon request.
Defendants named in the lawsuit include the City of Charlottesville, former City manager Chip Boyles, Charlottesville City attorney Lisa Robertson, acting Chief of Police Tito Durette, former City Council member Heather Hill, current City Council member Sena Magill and Mayor Lloyd Snook.
Brackney’s party says she was fired in part for disbanding and reprimanding the SWAT team and its members after an incident in which videos of the team surfaced using profanity. This followed an independent release that found group chat texts between officers containing “nude videos of females and themselves” as well as texts in which they said they wanted to “kill” City staff members.
Brackney’s team also alleges that the City “manipulated drafts” and other meeting notes to paint her in a poor light, and failed to produce documents in an effort to “cover up their plot against her.” According to Brackney, she has submitted over 50 FOIA requests and spent “hundreds of dollars” to uncover the plan to fire her.
In the final 90 days of her employment, Tucker said Brackney’s access to facilities was disconnected, her name and biography were removed from the department website and her photo was removed from the lobby of the police department, despite the fact that “she was still serving as chief.”
The City claims the decision to fire Brackney stems from a desire to ensure the viability of the department, however.
Although Boyles made the decision to fire Brackney, he did not provide a reason for Brackney’s termination publicly. Boyles said the decision came after a police department survey found that a majority of police officers felt as though the department lacked leadership under Brackney.
Boyles resigned after serving just eight months in his post.
Despite the controversy surrounding Brackney’s termination in Charlottesville, Brackney is reportedly among three final candidates to be the next Chief of Police of Minneapolis. The news comes as the Minneapolis Police Department searches for new leadership following the murder of George Floyd.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey shared a news release on the hiring decision, emphasizing the importance of this hire in re-building the relationship between residents and the city of Minneapolis.
Frey will interview each of the three candidates along with Community Safety Commissioner Cedric Alexander before making a final decision, “which will occur in the coming weeks.”