RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond City Council members held a private meeting Tuesday to discuss the alleged Independence Day mass shooting plot that Richmond Police claimed to have prevented, thanks to an anonymous tip.
“The chief does not report to us,” City Councilmember Mike Jones told 8News ahead of the meeting. “There’s only so much that they can share. Now, we talk about transparency and accountability. That’s well and good, but we also have to understand that they have a job, we have to support them. But how can we ensure that citizens, residents are getting the information that they’d like to have?”
The meeting was held nearly a month after Councilmember Katherine Jordan released a newsletter calling for answers to the questions raised after Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith and Mayor Levar Stoney’s initial July 6 announcement of the foiled plot, which City Council members attended in support. 8News spoke with Jordan on Tuesday, but she would not comment on the closed session.
“There are shootings that go on every single day on the southside,” Jones said. “While people are concerned, and rightly so, man, we just had a vigil last night where an African American brother was shot down, 29 years old. Man, we’re hearing gunshots every night on the southside, in my neighborhood, and so my closed-door session that I want to have with the chief: How do we address those things? How do we get more officers out? How do we ensure that we have safe neighborhoods for everybody?”
A spokesperson told 8News that there was not expected to be any specific discussion of Dogwood Dell during the closed session. Documents obtained by 8News confirmed that Richmond Police had not obtained any evidence indicating that the alleged mass shooting plot was targeting the Dogwood Dell.
“We didn’t know what we know now,” City Councilmember Reva Trammell said. “I don’t think there was ever anything mentioned about a mass shooting at Dogwood Dell.”
According to the Council’s meeting agenda, the meeting was specifically focused on “police plans to protect public safety and briefing by law enforcement officials concerning actions taken to respond to threats to public safety.”
Council members told 8News that they do expect a representative from the Richmond Police Department to be in attendance during the closed session.
But Trammell argued that the session should not be private at all.
“I think it needs to be out in the open and have the citizens know what we’re talking about because this is something I don’t really think it happened,” she said. “If it was really a mass shooting that was going to be happening at Dogwood Dell, how come the people at Dogwood Dell didn’t know about it? How come the councilperson didn’t know about it that represents that area?”
8News reached out to all members of the Richmond City Council. Other council members were either unavailable by deadline, or did not respond to requests for comment.