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Council violates CRB bylaws, ordinance with appointment

Charlottesville City Council appointed a city employee to the Police Civilian Review Board in violation of the oversight panel’s bylaws and ordinance.

The council unanimously appointed LaTita Talbert on Tuesday night after a closed session to interview applicants for the CRB and the Planning Commission and to discuss other legal matters.

In Talbert’s application, she lists her occupation as a city transit driver and her employer as the city of Charlottesville. She is included on a July 1 city salary list as a relief transit operator.

Talbert is also a former member of the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority board of commissioners.

The ordinance that establishes the CRB says “No Police Civilian Review Board voting member shall be a current City of Charlottesville employee.” Board member Phillip Seay is a city employee, but is a nonvoting member.

Councilor Heather Hill said Wednesday that the appointment “was truly an oversight.”

“I’m really sorry for this oversight,” she said. “It’s clearly not what we want to do.”

Hill said the council will meet soon to rescind the appointment. A closed session is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday.

Talbert would have filled the seat of Gwendolyn Allen, who resigned before the board started meeting.

The move comes across as another misstep in the contentious, two-year process to get the panel off the ground.

The board, which started meeting earlier this summer, came about in the fallout of the 2017 Unite the Right rally. The city tasked an initial panel with creating an ordinance and bylaws for the permanent board and the two sides were continuously mired in controversy.

Talbert was also the only one of three applicants who hadn’t publicly sparred with the City Council, particularly Mayor Nikuyah Walker. Walker has been at the center of recent controversies with the board and is taking a step back to try to repair the relationship.

The other applicants were activist Rosia Parker, who was on the initial CRB and Bellamy Brown, a financial advisor and former City Council candidate.

Parker was a vocal proponent of the board and critical of Police Chief RaShall Brackney during the initial CRB process.

Walker attacked Brown online during the 2019 campaign, calling him the “worst kind of toxic shit.”

Hill said the council hasn’t decided whether it will seek new applicants or fill the seat with Brown or Parker.

Board member Stuart Evans said Wednesday that he wants to keep trying to make a difference, but “at this point it seems like nothing with the board is working.”

“I’m not surprised and it seems par for the course,” he said. “It just doesn’t seem like it’s destined to succeed.”


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