HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — One day after Henrico Sheriff Alisa Gregory temporarily banned State Senator Joe Morrissey from both of the county’s jails, she called his actions “unacceptable.”
“The language. The walking up on a lieutenant in an aggressive manner… all unacceptable,” said the Sheriff. “It’s no different than if somebody from the community came in. We took the same measures.”
According to the sheriff’s office, Morrissey became disorderly during his visit on Saturday, Jan 28, while he was meeting with a client. The report says he left his three young children unattended in the lobby, where they began playing with the light switches, throwing a football, standing on tables and chairs, drawing rainbows on the smartboard, talking to an inmate and wandering into the parking lot.
The report continues, saying that Lt. G. Carey repeatedly notified Morrissey about the behavior, then asked him to leave.
Video obtained by 8News shows the interaction shortly after where Morrissey responded by saying he wouldn’t leave and calling Carey an “f—ing obstructionist.”
The video continued by showing Morrissey visibly agitated in a verbal exchange with Carey. At one point, Morrissey tells Carey, “do your job.” Carey says that he is doing his job and Morrissey responds by saying, “you got nothing else to do except to eat.”
In an interview with 8News on Wednesday, Sheriff Gregory defended her decision to ban the senator and said the situation was “not safe for the children.”
“It’s not acceptable by anyone, [at] anytime. And I wanted to make it clear,” she added.
Shortly after the report was released, 8News spoke with the senator, who called the claims overblown and untrue. He said his children were never left unattended because a deputy was watching them.
“I said where can the children gather right here. I got them juice, came back and they had been set up at a table, and they were coloring. They made airplanes and as kids do, they got rambunctious,” he said.
Sheriff Gregory argued that watching over children is not part of her deputies’ duties.
“A deputy is not a childcare provider. We don’t have a daycare at the jail, nor is that a part of our daily responsibilities,” said Sheriff Gregory. “You take a deputy away from their post, something goes awry while they’re babysitting. Not our job, not our responsibility.”
The senator fired back, saying he never called the lieutenant a name, only an f—ing obstructionist. In the video, the senator can be heard calling Carey a “punk.”
According to Morrissey, the sheriff initially told him he didn’t need to leave and he was surprised to find she had later banned him.
8News asked the Sheriff about this on Wednesday.
“When the senator called me on the telephone, he did not explain the events, nor had I reviewed the footage of the kids unattended and I did not know the children had been sent to a vehicle alone,” the Sheriff said. “The video footage told a totally different story than was portrayed on the telephone.”
Morrissey’s visiting privileges at Henrico’s Jail West and Jail East facilities have reportedly been suspended for 90 days as a result of the incident.