After two men turned themselves in for assaulting two people downtown last month, Dave McNair (formally of The Hook) writes on The DTM that a more complicated narrative is emerging. I hope more information comes out about this soon, because this story—what it says about and how it influences race relations in Charlottesville—is important, and potentially powerful.
Randy Allen Taylor has been charged with the murder of Nelson teenager Alexis Murphy, Justin Faulconer reports in the Lynchburg News and Advance. Taylor was arrested a week after the 17-year-old’s disappearance in August, and charged with abducting her. Now a grand jury has indicted him on charges of murder. Murphy has not been found, and Taylor apparently is still insisting on his innocence, instead blaming a black, male drug dealer.
Charlottesville Mayor Satyendra Huja has been selected for another two-year term, Aaron Richardson reports in the Daily Progress. Nobody nominated vice mayor Kristin Szakos to succeed Huja in the position. She abstained from voting, so Huja won in a 4–0 vote. Councilor Dede Smith was then selected as the new vice mayor, by a 5-0 vote.
Do you recognize this man?
Charlottesville’s Marc Adams and his girlfriend, Jeanne Doucette, were seriously injured by this guy and two others on the Downtown Mall last week, Courteney Stuart writes in C-Ville Weekly. The two were walking downtown at 1 AM, after he finished his shift at work, when a group of four people—all African-American—approached the couple, and the three men set upon the couple with apparent glee. Adams was left unconscious with a concussion, amnesia, a broken ankle, a black eye, a missing tooth, and cracked ribs, while Doucette has bruises on her head and torn cartilage in her ear. While the three men attacked, a female friend looked on. The assault ended when passersby called 911 and Doucette starting taking pictures with her phone, including the above this photo of the female friend (and others, in the C-Ville Weekly article):
Adams wrote about the incident on Facebook immediately thereafter, but otherwise the Charlottesville Police raised no warnings and didn’t circulate the photos, leading the victims to post the photos to Facebook today, in an effort to warn others and to catch the attackers. Despite Adams’ immediate suggestion to the police that video from Wells Fargo’s security cameras would be helpful, it took a week before they requested that video, on Friday, and they haven’t gotten it yet. Department spokesman Ronnie Roberts says that they kept it quiet to avoid letting the attackers know that they were being sought by police.
In today’s Daily Progress, J. Reynolds Hutchins revisits the question of how effective that the red light cameras at Rio and 29 have been, and finds that they’ve correlated with a sharp increase in accidents that the intersection. There were 38 crashes there in 2010, before the cameras were installed. There were 49 and 2011, 31 in 2012, and 33 in 2013 as of July (on pace for 56 for the year). CBS-19’s Rachel Ryan reported this story last year, which the Albemarle County Police Department disputed via a story reported by Dave McNair in The Hook. The police explained that if you only look at the lanes covered by traffic cameras then there’s actually been a decrease in accidents, but why you would only look at those lanes, I cannot imagine. (How about if you only look at accidents when the moon is waxing? Or in days of the month that include the number “3”?)
The cameras are under scrutiny because of the county’s intention to put another photo-red system at the intersection of Stony Point Road and 250. I go through that intersection at least twice each day, on my way to and from town, and I can think of just one time in my life that I’ve seen somebody run the light there. I don’t have the faintest idea of why the county would want to put a camera at that intersection.