Judicial Watch: Court Hearing Set about Virginia County Democrat Officials’ Secret Meeting on BLM Riot
(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch announced today that a hearing will be held on Wednesday, October 7 in the Prince William Circuit Court in Manassas, VA, regarding the state’s open meetings law was violated by a meeting held by the Democrat members of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors in May which discussed the Police response to BLM riots.
In July 2020, Judicial Watch asked the court to mandate the Prince William County Board of supervisors to comply with Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act/ open meeting law (Gloss et al. v Wheeler et al. (No. 20-7521)). The lawsuit is being brought together with three Prince William County residents and their Virginia counsel, McSweeny, Cynkar and Kachouroff, PLLC.
The Prince William Circuit Court is considering whether the Democrat members of the board violated law by holding a meeting in secret, without notice to any Republican supervisor or advance notice to the public as required by law.
The hearing is in the Prince William Circuit Court in Manassas:
Date: Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Time: 10:00 am ET
Location: 9311 Lee Ave, Manassas, VA 20110
On Saturday night May 30, various protests and rioting occurred in Prince William County, resulting in numerous injuries to police officers and extensive property damage. Police officers reportedly used tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. The next day, a meeting of the police department’s Citizen Advisory Board was held. All five Democrat supervisors attended the meeting, but the board’s three Republican members were not notified of the meeting and did not attend. The individual who chairs the Citizen’s Advisory Board is the husband of one of the Democrat supervisors.
As explained in the lawsuit, the Democrat supervisors violated Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act/open meeting law by holding a meeting in secret, without notice to any Republican supervisor nor advance notice to the public as required by law. Virginia law prohibits any gathering of two or more members of the same public body if public business is transacted or discussed. While no votes were cast during the meeting, the Democrat members posed questions and provided directives to the police leadership to curtail the use of crowd control measures in future disturbances. As set forth in the lawsuit, this constituted a discussion of public business in violation of Virginia Code section 2.2.-3707(A).