RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) — 12 days after a female sheriff’s deputy working at the city’s jail was reportedly assaulted by a male inmate, the head of city council’s public safety committee is calling for transparency into the incident.
Councilwoman Reva Trammell told 8News she wonders why Sheriff Antionette Irving has not publicly commented or shared details about Sakeem Jamar Bell allegedly assaulting Deputy S. Cole on July 7; both Bell and Cole are named in an internal report.
“What is going on in there,” Trammel asked in an interview with 8News Tuesday.
Bell’s attorney told 8News his client was sent to Central State Hospital, a mental institution in Dinwiddie.
Trammell said she has requested Irving attend the upcoming public safety committee meeting next Tuesday. The one agenda item up for discussion regards the process for “securing mentally ill inmates and the safety of other inmates and personnel.”
“I think if she’s got nothing to hide and if she wants some help or needs some help, she would show up and tell us exactly what is going on,” Trammel added.
Irving and a staffer have not responded to 8News’ multiple requests for comment over the past 11 days.
Why hasn’t Bell been charged despite being directly accused of the assault nearly two weeks ago?
8News legal analyst Russ Stone shared two possibilities that may provide an answer, but without confirmed details, one can only speculate.
“It very well could be that the police, or the sheriff’s office, is simply holding off until they make sure they are dealing with a person that is competent and therefore, able to go through the court proceeding,” Stone said.
Despite this, Stone said there “no real reason why” the sheriff’s office couldn’t share some details of the assault, but he speculated Bell’s ongoing sentence at the jail may be why specifics of the case are not being shared.
“It may be that the government just feels they have some additional time, ‘there’s no reason to rush anything because he is not going anywhere for the time being. We can place our charges at a later date.’ That’s possible, but again, it is speculation,” Stone said.
After 8News first report on the situation Monday, Irving was again sent a request for comment Tuesday but she provided no response.
We again requested information from the sheriff today, still, no response.