Last February, the Virginian-Pilot reported that Chesapeake Police Chief Richard Justice was opposed to a citizen review board. Now, in the wake of a botched raid on a marijuana grow-operation that wasn’t, he’s on his way out. Ironically, if a CRB had been implemented then, he might not be facing an early retirement.
In November, a one year old child named Ny-Asia Tillmon was murdered during a home invasion in the South Norfolk section of Chesapeake, just a few blocks from the Portlock home of Ryan Frederick. In December, a SWAT team raided the home of Marva Morris in the 2000 block of Stahlman Road in South Norfolk, looking for Shawn Sir Charles Ward, a suspect in the shooting. Ward was arrested the following day at the home of a relative in Virginia Beach.
Chesapeake Police were acting on a tip which, like the tip about the grow-op in Frederick’s home, was, by all appearances, completely unfounded. Not only was Morris not related to Ward, but she had her own history of conflicts with him. Morris tried to get a warrant against Ward earlier in 2007, because he had been “chasing” her daughter, and had complained to police about him previously for “terrorizing the neighborhood.” It hardly seems likely that Morris would harbor a fugitive with whom she had such a demonstrably contentious relationship. It occurs to me that Chesapeake police could have discovered this very same thing, prior to sending a SWAT team to raid and utterly destroy this woman’s home, if they had researched their very own records.
This situation is precisely the sort of thing that a Citizen’s Review Board would have investigated. In the midst of such an investigation, it seems likely that the CPD would have exercised greater care before raiding Ryan Frederick’s home. If so, Det. Jarrod Shivers would not have been killed, and Chief Justice would not be under such pressure to retire.
In other words, the police themselves could have benefitted from a little accountability.