Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorneys pledge support for statewide policing and justice reform

Eleven Commonwealth’s Attorneys from Northern Virginia, including some from the immediate D.C. metro area, are pledging their support for aggressive police and justice reform at the state level.

In a letter to three Virginia Democratic lawmakers, the prosecutors, who represent almost half of the Commonwealth, outlined several proposals drawn up heading into the General Assembly’s special session later this summer.

The letter was addressed to State Democratic Sen. Scott Surovell, House of Delegates Majority Leader Charniele Herring and Lamont Bagby, chair of Virginia’s Legislative Black Caucus.

“We have seen the Senate Democratic Caucus’ and the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus’ list of priorities for the upcoming Special Session, and beyond, and truly appreciate the agenda’s commitment to meaningful measures,” the letter reads.

The group of Commonwealth’s Attorneys, which include some from Fairfax, Arlington, Loudoun and Prince William counties, said they’re behind “all measures related to police officer accountability for use of force misconduct and other behavior-related complaints.”

The prosecutors also favor a change to allow them the power to access officer records and any other pertinent information related to those types of cases.

The letter backs up a requirement for all warrants to be served during the daytime unless special judicial approval is given, dropping the required six-month driver’s license suspension for all drug convictions and doing away with the state’s mandatory minimum sentences.

“We applaud your willingness to make these most needed changes that will directly and positively impact the communities in which we are honored and privileged to serve each and every day,” it said.

Earlier this month, House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn of Fairfax said “aggressive change is needed now,” but that there is at least one area off limits. GOP leaders in the House and Senate already said they oppose any proposals to reduce law enforcement funding.

Ken Duffy

Ken Duffy is a reporter and anchor at WTOP with more than 20 years of experience. He has reported from major events like the 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, 2016 Election Night at Trump Headquarters in Midtown Manhattan and the 2007 Super Bowl in Miami.

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