University of Virginia Associate Vice President for Safety and Security and Chief of Police Tim Longo released the following statement in reaction to social media posts regarding a difficult encounter between University Police Department officers and a member of the Charlottesville community:
The University Police Department is aware of the encounter between University Police officers and a member of the Charlottesville community that was described recently on social media, and immediately brought the matter to the attention of the Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney for review and consideration.
At 10:40 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, a University Police Department officer witnessed a verbal altercation between a male and a female outside of a commercial establishment on the Corner.
The officer stopped and turned on his body-worn camera. He asked the two individuals involved for identification as he attempted to learn more about the confrontation that he had observed. The female participant provided identification. However, the male refused and walked away from the scene, crossing University Avenue entering onto UVA Grounds.
A second officer who had arrived at the scene recognized the male as an individual who was involved in an incident that occurred in April at the UVA Hospital where he became disorderly and refused to leave the property after being given a directive to do so. During the course of that previous incident, the male was served with a No Trespass Order (NTO) that covered all of UVA Grounds.
Both officers followed the individual across University Avenue and informed him that he was trespassing on UVA Grounds, in violation of the NTO. The officers attempted to detain him for further investigation when he turned and fled, crossing back over University Avenue. The officers pursued and restrained him, attempting to place his hands behind his back so that hand restraints could be applied. Active resistance and struggle ensued for several minutes.
A UPD supervising officer arrived on the scene and intervened in an effort to de-escalate the situation. She directed the officers to allow the individual to sit up, and further directed that hand restraints be removed as she questioned the male about what had occurred. Additionally, she questioned the responding officers about what led to the encounter and their resultant actions and asked medical responders to evaluate the male. At the suggestion of the supervising officer, he was assessed by emergency medical personnel at the scene, after which he left.
Upon review of the incident, the Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney has determined that none of the officers acted unlawfully in the course of this incident. I have also initiated an internal review into this matter in order determine whether any University Police Department policies or standards of conduct were violated. That review will also focus on issues of policy, training, and other ways in UPD can improve upon its service to the University and the Charlottesville-Albemarle community. One officer has been placed on administrative leave since the incident occurred and will remain in this status until the administrative review is complete.
Until such time as the administrative matter has concluded, we will refrain from offering further comment or conclusions about the events that occurred that night. I urge members of the public to remain patient as we investigate this matter and determine the appropriate next steps for our department and the University overall.