RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond’s new interim police chief, William “Jody” Blackwell, has left the post less than two weeks after taking over for former chief William Smith.
A Richmond police spokesperson told 8News that Blackwell was no longer the interim chief but did not elaborate on whether he resigned.
Blackwell was chosen to replace Smith, who was forced out by Mayor Levar Stoney in the wake of two consecutive nights of clashes between protesters and officers outside the Richmond police headquarters, on June 16. After being appointed by Stoney, details about an officer-involved fatal shooting in 2002 involving Blackwell resurfaced.
Blackwell never faced charges in the case but an investigation was launched and a grand jury heard evidence, including details that the man who was killed, 26-year-old Jeramy Gilliam, was reportedly shot in the back and that the alleged weapon he pointed at Blackwell was found 35 feet away from him and lacked fingerprints.
When he was introduced to the city last week, Blackwell was asked about the fatal shooting of Gilliam but evaded the question, saying he would not “go into any details associated with it.”
In an email to the department, which was shared with 8News, Blackwell expresses his gratitude for the work they have done under his tenure and said that he has requested to return to his former position as a major.
“As of now I am not longer the Interim Chief of Police. I ask that you all keep the good fight and I pray that I didn’t serve as a disappointment,” Blackwell wrote. “I will be submitting a letter requesting to return to my former position. Unfortunately I have not been made aware of who will be appointed as the new Interim Chief. The one thing that is for certain is, that we didn’t allow the current state of this city to define us.”
Stay with 8News for updates to this developing story.