RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Attorney General Mark Herring and the Virginia NAACP have announced their joining forces to address how Virginia and law enforcement handle investigations into officer-involved shooting deaths.
The meeting was requested by the Virginia NAACP following the shooting death of Xzavier Hill by a Virginia State Police trooper back in January.
“The Virginia NAACP urged the Attorney General to take a holistic approach to identifying tangible solutions that address this growing problem here in the Commonwealth,” Robert. N. Barnette, Jr., President of the Virginia NAACP said. “Virginia must have a well-defined policy that ensures impartial investigation, transparency of facts, and reassures Virginians that justice will be served in fatal cases involving law enforcement officers.”
Herring adds investigations into officer-involved shootings should be handled by independent, unaffiliated agencies to prevent conflicts of interest.
“Self-investigation of such a serious matter can understandably lead to doubt or skepticism about the outcome, which can in turn lead to mistrust and damaged relationships between agencies and the communities they serve,” Herring said. “In recent years, different states have pursued unique and innovative strategies for handling these matters, and I intend to engage my colleagues around the county and the Commonwealth to build a consensus around a stronger process that promotes transparency, impartiality, and public trust.”
The NAACP says they remain focused on finding long-term policy measures they can advocate for on the local and state levels.
They also hope to bring state agencies and community leaders together to bring policy recommendations.