(Updated at 1 p.m.) Commonwealth’s Attorney candidate Parisa Dehghani-Tafti is facing calls for an apology after two groups representing police in Arlington County say she “falsely alleged” an incident of police brutality.
The Arlington County Police Department itself is now saying Tafti’s claim in a recent campaign mailer is “inconsistent with the facts.”
“It has come to our attention that recent political mailings and communications have suggested that the agency participates in problematic police practices,” said ACPD in a statement today (Tuesday) about Tafti’s reference to incidents where officers used force and which she claimed were examples of police brutality gone unpunished.
The police department also refuted Tafti’s claims in the mailer that the county’s policies on marijuana offenses disproportionately affect people of color.
ACPD values the strong relationship we've built with the community over the past 79 years. While we have no intention of engaging in the political process, it has come to our attention that recent political mailings have suggested the agency participates in problematic practices. pic.twitter.com/iZPGITkrOU
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) May 7, 2019
Earlier that morning, the Arlington Police Beneficiary Association and the Arlington Coalition of Police issued a rare statement (Tuesday) demanding Tafti apologize for the mailer they said made a “disgraceful and false allegation of police ‘brutality’ leveled at an Arlington County Police officer.”
Tafti is running a campaign for Commonwealth’s Attorney centered on criminal justice reform and has been a vocal critic of incumbent Theo Stamos. Tafti recently mailed a campaign flyer which cited a 2015 officer-involved shooting as an example of a case of “police brutality” that wasn’t prosecuted.
The incident in question involved an officer who shot a 54-year-old man three times on May 19, 2015, during a domestic violence call, after the man struck the officer in the face with a metal bar. An investigation into the incident ruled that the deadly force was justified, and cleared the officer of criminal charges.
“Any insinuation of police brutality surrounding this incident is inconsistent with the facts,” said the ACPD in their statement.
Arlington Police Beneficiary Association Advisor and Past President Matt Martin told ARLnow that the organization “rarely” issues public statements, “but this was important enough that we had to set the record straight.”
In a statement to ARLnow, Tafti responded to the criticism, saying:
As I have spoken to voters throughout the course of this campaign, it is clear that they want accountability, transparency, and impartiality from all of us responsible for the administration of criminal justice, including the Commonwealth Attorney’s office. What was not mentioned in the police statement was that the mother of the victim said he was schizophrenic and possibly off his medications, and that he did not initiate any violence. The mother only spoke Spanish, and the police could not communicate with her. The medical examiner determined her son was killed by a shot to his back. This is the exact fear I have heard from parents of children with serious mental illness and members of our immigrant community throughout Arlington and the City of Falls Church, and is a prime example of why we need a criminal justice reformer in our Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office.
In a case not mentioned by the APBA and the ACP, the current Commonwealth’s Attorney prosecuted a case against a man who was the victim of an assault by a police officer during a traffic stop. In ruling that the man had not provoked the assault by the officer by assaulting him first, the judge said “I hold police officers to a higher standard.” Voters have told me time and again that they want a Commonwealth’s Attorney they can trust to be impartial and hold everyone accountable. Seventy-two percent of Virginians say they want criminal justice reform, but it has become a standard trope that those opposed to reform accuse reform candidates of being anti-police. I am not anti-police, but pro-accountability and pro-community.
The association and coalition called for a “full public apology” from the candidate that acknowledged the “officer-involved shooting was lawful.”
The groups also asked public officials who endorsed her campaign to withdraw their support or to issue a statement “condemning her false ‘brutality’ accusation.”
Together with the Arlington Coalition of Police, the two orgs specifically pointed at this campaign mailer which accuses Commonwealth's Attorney Theo Stamos of "refusing to prosecute police officers in cases of brutality" with links to two cases at the bottom. pic.twitter.com/GRza1Fq6pF
— Airey (@howisthatlegal) May 7, 2019
“This officer — who, it should be noted, needed more than 60 stitches to close the wound on his face — used deadly force to protect himself after he was attacked by a man with a metal bar,” said Arlington Police Beneficiary Association President Rich Conigliaro.
“Any assertion that this shooting was anything other than justified is a distortion of the facts,” he added.
“Our officer’s actions that day as he tried to help a victim of domestic abuse were clearly in self-defense,” said Arlington Coalition of Police President Jeff Lubin. “Falsely accusing him of ‘brutality’ is shameful and he and all of Arlington’s police officers deserve an apology.”
Tafti’s mailer also listed another case of alleged police brutality, in which a man said an officer beat him during a 1991 routine traffic stop. The officer was not charged in that case.
Conigliaro and Lubin noted that the officer was not criminally charged and left the department that year to join the Secret Service.
Voters will decide whether Stamos or Tafti become the Democratic candidate for the Arlington and Falls Church prosecutor’s office in the primary election on June 11. Residents who want to vote must register no later than May 12.
In loving memory of Joseph Robert Kapacziewski, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 41.
In loving memory of James Stuart Edmonds, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 84.
A man was shot in front of a lounge on Columbia Pike early this morning, continuing a string of violent incidents.
Good Friday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 17124 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…
YULA’s ultimate frisbee spring season is now open for registration. We offer programs for middle and high schoolers – open to all players, whether they are new or have previous experience.Middle SchoolIn the Middle School league, mixed-gender teams practice once during the week and have games on Sunday afternoons. Spring league is a fun, safe, and positive environment. The season begins mid-March and wraps up with a tournament in early June. There are several options for practice days, so we can often work around schedule conflicts with other sports & activities.High SchoolThe High School program is organized by school of attendance and teams are classified by gender. New players will learn the basics in a supportive, welcoming environment. Experienced players will continue to develop their skills, and enjoy competition with other high school programs. The season concludes with a state level championship tournament in late May.All players are guided by experienced coaches who emphasize sportsmanship and good spirit. Ultimate is a fun sport with great camaraderie!YULA does not want finances to limit anyone from participating. Our middle school program offers a “Pay What You Can” cost structure and our our high school program is offering a $50 discount to new players.Visit our website to register and learn more. Sign up with a friend, but don’t delay, the season starts in March!http://www.yula-ulti.org
The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.
The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.
Former participants have this to say:
_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._
Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village