Arlington citizens and community activists flooded Saturday’s online County Board meeting with calls to reform the Arlington County Police Department.
At the start of the public hearing on June 13, County Board Chair Libby Garvey emphasized that the Board’s rules state there could only be one speaker on any given topic or stance, but that’s not now the public comment portion panned out as dozens of speakers rallied to argue against policies activists said were still deeply rooted in the County’s history of segregation.
Yolande Kwinana, founder of a newly formed group called Arlington for Justice, followed up on an earlier discussion with Police Chief Jay Farr by bringing many of the concerns about policies and funding to the County Board.
Kwinana highlighted the demands of a campaign called 8cantwait and urged the county to move forward with the implementation of body cameras and citizen review panels with the power to subpoena the police.
“Invest in our community over law enforcement be reallocating resources to community programs and mental health services,” Kwinana.
Other demands included removing School Resource Officers from middle and high schools in Arlington.
Garvey responded that many of Kwinana’s suggested reforms were already in place, without specifying which ones, and tried to move forward but was immediately confronted with more public speakers discussing police reform. Daniel Weir, a member of the Planning Commission, tried to speak about police reform but was cut off by Garvey, who told him to save his comments for another occasion.
County Board member Christian Dorsey suggested a compromise of allowing speakers like Weir to discuss specific facets of reform rather than a broad call for changes to policing.
“The underlying problem isn’t the bad apples, it’s not specific to policing,” Weir said. “[Racism] spreads like mycelium into every decision. Any institution that doesn’t actively resist these things will [have racism] affect decisions. We must be required to take anti-racism training and memorialize the racial impact of every action.”
Other speakers challenged the Arlington County Police Department’s past use of deadly against people in a mental crisis or said the department should do more to require and codify de-escalation techniques.
“We can make Arlington safer by adopting specific rules,” said Wells Harrell. “Eight can’t wait. I call on this Board to put it on the agenda for the next meeting and vote yes.”
During the County Board’s discussion after the meeting, Board members thanked the speakers but also discussed being in a difficult situation of recognizing the concerns without vilifying the police — who are already in the spotlight after participating in the removal of protestors from Lafayette Square earlier this month.
“Judge people by what they do,” Garvey said. “We’re not perfect, we need to get better, but our police are working very hard and to see them swept up into this national narrative is a little painful for us and for them. But yet, people are pointing out some areas where we need to improve and to make sure people are comfortable.”
Garvey said the County Board will work to put together a public forum about proposed reforms for the police department.
“We want [this moment] to turn into a movement,” Dorsey said. “I hope for sustained activism beyond today.”
Settlement in Jail Death Case — “Relatives of a man who died in the Arlington County jail and their attorney would receive about $1.3 million in exchange for dismissal of…
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.
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