8News Investigates: Former RRHA Police Chief Appears in Court - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

8News Investigates: Former RRHA Police Chief Appears in Court

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On Friday, the former police chief of the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) at the center of an ABC 8News investigation into the misuse of public funds and the abuse of police powers appeared in court. On Friday, the former police chief of the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) at the center of an ABC 8News investigation into the misuse of public funds and the abuse of police powers appeared in court.
RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) -

On Friday, the former police chief of the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) at the center of an ABC 8News investigation into the misuse of public funds and the abuse of police powers appeared in court.

Former Chief Hal Hazelton is suing his former RRHA employees for $500,000, claiming he was fired as retaliation and publicly disgraced.

Shortly before 9 a.m. on May 23, Hazelton walked into Richmond Circuit Court. He was there for a hearing on a six-page lawsuit for half a million dollars that he filed against his old bosses at RRHA, including CEO Adrienne Goolsby and former Chairman of the Board of Commissioners James Carlton. Hazleton claims he was fired as a “conspiracy” because of his reporting of “improper activity inside RRHA.”

However, recent ABC 8News investigations show that under Hazelton’s leadership, the RRHA Police Department was making up its own rules and making arrests—out of bounds—with no jurisdiction.

Investigative Reporter A.J. Lagoe spoke with numerous former RRHA Police officers, who have asked for their identities to be protected. They say Chief Hazelton told them they had city-wide jurisdiction and because of that, they made countless arrests off of RRHA property, when an ABC 8News investigation showed they had no right to do so.

“Do you think there are people sitting in jail, sitting in prison today, for arrests you made that you’re now questioning?” Lagoe asked a former officer.

“I know there are,” he answered. “I know it.”

Another former officer said, “Whether or not it was known by the agency itself, in addition to that, whether or not the chief of police at the time lied to us.”

The officers say both they and the public deserve answers from their former chief, answers Hazelton refused to provide on Friday morning. Lagoe pressed Hazelton for answers, but he only responded, “Have a good day,” multiple times.

ABC 8News investigations have also exposed Hazelton’s agency credit card was used to fund a private vacation in Las Vegas for him and his wife. Taxpayers also footed the bill for his NRA membership.

There are also three years’ and thousands of dollars’ worth of suspicious payments on Hazelton’s credit card for both cable and Dish TV for the department’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which RRHA management admitted in an email doesn’t exist. Though sources told Lagoe that at one point there was talk of building an EOC, the idea never came to fruition. Hazelton also refused to discuss this issue.

In court on Friday, parts of Hazelton’s lawsuit were dropped, including those against former Chairman Carlton. Lawyers for former Chief Hazelton and the RRHA said in court that the two sides may have a settlement agreement for the $500,000 lawsuit in place in the next few weeks.

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

Related Stories:

No Jurisdiction, No Problem: Local Police Make Up Their Own Rules

8News Investigates: Thousands Spent on Nonexistent RRHA Emergency Operations Center

8News Investigates: Public Leader Uses Tax Dollars to Fund His Vacation

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