I shouldn’t be writing this article.
Some hotshot investigative reporter at the Virginian Pilot, backed up by teams of fact checkers, and with the clout to have his phone calls answered by anyone in City government, should be writing it. But they don’t seem much interested, and, to the contrary, it would seem that the Pilot is complicit in the deception which concerns me. So, I will write it. I will probably get a ticket every time I leave my driveway for the rest of my life, but I’m going to write it anyway.
On January 17 of this year, Detective Jarrod Shivers was killed while serving a search warrant at the home of Ryan Fredericks. This is Chesapeake, things like that are not supposed to happen here,
Chesapeake is a safe place to live. To a great extent, that safety is the product of the dedication of our police force, supported by the cooperation they receive from the public. No police force can be fully effective without the support and trust of the people. But in that incident, and in its aftermath, that trust has been breached by the leadership of the Chesapeake Police Department and it will take a trusted outside voice to restore the faith of the people.
So, I am calling on Attorney General Bob McDonnell to take control of the investigation and to assign State Police investigators to complete the investigation and make public the answers to the questions that local authorities have inexplicably left unanswered. I would not lightly ask the State to oversee local law enforcement, but there are a number of troubling issues which are undermining the confidence of the citizens in their police force, thus placing police officers at greater risk and compromising the rule of law that makes Liberty possible. The concerns and unanswered questions which compel this request will be addressed in greater detail in subsequent posts, but in brief, they are as follows:
The warrant was obtained on the affidavit of a confidential informant who claimed to have seen hydroponics equipment and marijuana plants in the unattached garage of the residence. He further claimed to have seen a scale and packaging materials in the house. Mr. Fredericks claims his home and garage were burglarized some days prior to the obtaining of that warrant, which claim is supported by his purchase of repair materials and new locks. The unanswered question: Was the confidential informant the burglar?
With regard to the service of the warrant, why was it deemed necessary to enter the home without notice by destroying the door with a battering ram when the suspected marijuana plants were alleged to be in the garage and there was nothing easily destroyed in the home? No reasonable justification has been provided by the Chesapeake Police. Mr. Frederick has a job with regular hours and the search could easily have been conducted in his absence or as he left or returned without the need for creating a potentially mortal danger by forcibly entering while the subject was asleep and might reasonably believe himself to be the victim of a home invasion.
The Chesapeake Police provided, as a spokesman to the Virginian Pilot, an Officer who was a close friend of Det. Shivers who assured the press that all elements of the search were properly handled, including a loud announcement before knocking down the door. That officer was miles away at the time of the raid and had no direct knowledge of what happened. The only officer actually present other than Det. Shivers was his partner, who has made no statement to the press. Why has the only officer actually there not provided a statement of the facts as he saw them? Why did a neighbor, who was outdoors at the time of the raid, hear Frederick’s dogs barking and the gunfire, but no loud announcement?
The inventory of items seized lists “marijuana” but states no quantity, not even an estimate of whether it was an amount suitable for commercial purposes or simply for personal use. Frederick has now been charged with simple possession of marijuana, indicating less than an ounce was found, why was this held back for over two weeks?
The inventory also states that three shell casings were recovered on the scene, two .380 ACP pistol cases and one .223 rifle cartridge case. It further states that a .380 ACP pistol was taken, which Mr. Frederick identifies as his and from which he admits to firing two shots in what he believed to be self defense against an unidentified home intruder. No explanation has been provided for the presence of the rifle round casing, nor did Mr. Frederick have such a rifle. The Chesapeake Police have not admitted that either of the officers there fired a round, though .223 rounds are commonly used in Police SWAT weapons. Clearly, that casing must be accounted for.
These questions remain unanswered by the CPD, for reasons which they have not stated. In view of the irregularities that have come to light regarding the identity of the confidential informant and how he supposedly came to be in Mr. Fredericks home and garage, the clearly unnecessarily aggressive nature of the service of the warrant, the ambiguity about the quantity of illegal drug recovered, the unexplained rifle round casing, and the withholding from the press of eyewitness testimony, has resulted in a growing distrust in the community which undermines the rule of law and places our police and citizens in unnecessary danger.
A brave and dedicated Police officer is dead, a young man’s future hangs in the balance and the safety of the community is imperiled by widespread distrust born of the CPD’s obfuscation and stonewalling. Whether the Chesapeake Police have something to hide, or are just incredibly inept at public relations, cannot be determined until trust is restored.
So, I call upon the Attorney General to step in, find the truth, and trust the public with that truth so a fresh start can be made.