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Charlottesville takes no action on city employee who attended Jan. 6 events

The exterior of Charlottesville City Hall.
Authorities have not charged a Charlottesville city employee who attended the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, according to Interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers. He said the employee provided a letter of apology to city officials, which Rogers declined to read at a Monday council meeting. (File photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

Update: This story was updated Aug. 3 at 10:37 a.m. to include a comment from Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook

Charlottesville’s city manager will take no action to address concerns about a city information technology employee who attended the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. 

During the weekend of Jan. 16 and 17, the Charlottesville Police Department received information from a city official that an employee, initially thought to be a sworn CPD officer, had been at the Capitol during the siege. The city’s assistant police chief later determined it was an employee in the IT department, who had entered the Capitol on Jan. 6. 

The assistant police chief reported the findings to the chief of police and city manager on Jan. 20, said Interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers during Monday’s Charlottesville City Council meeting. CPD then notified the FBI in Richmond about the employee on Jan. 21.

Rogers said Monday that he’s spoken with the employee, who has been interviewed by the FBI three times during the past year and a half. 

Authorities have not charged the employee subsequent to the events at the capitol on Jan. 6, according to Rogers. He said the employee provided a letter of apology to city officials, which Rogers declined to read on Monday. 

“He is very sorrowful of his activities,” Rogers said. “He’s experienced a great deal of personal loss and considering the totality of circumstances, including that it’s been a year and a half without any action, I conclude that no further action or review is warranted in this case.” 

Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook told VPM News in a Wednesday email that the city is not able to fire the employee because they did not violate the city's personnel policy.

"[T]he City does not have a personnel policy that gives us power to take disciplinary action against someone who is suspected of having done something 18 months ago outside of the Charlottesville area that has been investigated by law enforcement and has not led to any criminal charges," Snook wrote. "The government is not like a private employer — we are required to act pursuant to our personnel policy."

Snook added that Charlottesville is considering updating its personnel policy to "give us the power to take disciplinary action under these sorts of circumstances." He also noted that the employee's supervisors had been made "aware of the situation and will be closely monitoring his activities to be sure that he does nothing improper on the job." 

Former Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney tweeted about the matter in June when she filed a federal lawsuit against city officials, alleging employment discrimination.

“My Asst Chief investigated a city employee who attended the rally & entered the Capitol. He determined participating in an insurrection was a not a ‘crime’ but a ‘personnel’ matter,” the former police chief wrote in a tweet. “I determined otherwise & notified the FBI.”

Brackney also claimed the Richmond FBI told her assistant chief that an arrest was pending.  

“Boyles & IT director were informed the employee was dangerous & to revoke his IT access/privileges,” she wrote. 

During Monday’s Charlottesville council meeting, Rogers responded to questions about the number of Charlottesville police officers who'd taken the day off on Jan. 6 and whether they were involved in the siege.

Rogers found that there were 37 people who were absent on Jan. 5; 31 on Jan. 6; and 25 on Jan. 7. However, he said, those officers were mostly on regularly scheduled days off. 

The CPD employed 125 sworn officers in 2019. 

“There has been no question raised about any of these members having used their day off to go participate in other activities that landed some people in jail,” Rogers said on Monday. 

NPR has compiled a database of more than 800 people who have been charged and convicted in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Whittney Evans is VPM News’ features editor.