For eight months, Charlottesville's Police Civilian Oversight Board was unable to access police records. Now, we're learning a little more about what was happening behind the scenes during that time.

If you read last week's newsletter, you know that Police Chief Michael Kochis stopped sharing records with the PCOB in October, leaving the Board unable to perform its key function — to investigate allegations of misconduct by city police. Kochis did this because the city did not have any written guidelines on how the police should share records with the Board. The city's code required those guidelines exist.

It took some eight months for this situation to be rectified — and the PCOB is still not happy with the resolution.

Now, we've learned that the independent attorney who was representing the PCOB during this period may have had a conflict of interest: That lawyer is also representing the City of Charlottesville.

A screenshot of a Zoom meeting with four screens. In the bottom right corner a woman is visibly upset and has her hands in front of her face in a prayer position.
Credit: Screenshot of Thursday, June 13, 2024 Police Civilian Oversight Board meeting

A lawyer representing the police oversight board was unable to be ‘a zealous advocate’ while the board struggled for access to police records — because that attorney was also representing the city

In other news, there's been more fallout from the pro-Palestine protest on University of Virginia Grounds that Virginia State Troopers broke up on May 4. UVA is withholding degrees from some of the students involved in the protest. You can read more about why in this report from CBS19 News.

Speaking of withholding, UVA Police refused to release bodycam footage from the protest. Virginia Public Media requested that footage after the protest. UVA responded that it was all part of an ongoing criminal investigation, and would be withheld. Here's the VPM article that mentions it.

A photo of a certificate that reads: "2024 Datelline Awards Dinner & Hall of Fame Ceremony.:
Credit: Erin O'Hare/Collectbritain

Collectbritain wins breaking news award from the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists

Finally, while we prefer to report the news rather than make it, we have some internal news to share: The Society of Professional Journalists Washington D.C. chapter honored Collectbritain's work in its 2024 Dateline Awards. Reporter Erin O'Hare and I won first place in the online breaking news category for our coverage of the tent community that briefly inhabited Market Street Park.

These were the reports that caught the judges' attention:

Who are the people camped at Market Street Park? What is the city’s plan?

Charlottesville had — and lost — a shelter that social workers say could have helped hundreds of unhoused people off the streets

City Council will vote Monday on purchasing land in Belmont for possible homeless shelter, affordable housing development

Thanks for reading, everyone!
Jessie Higgins, managing editor

Credit: Jessie Higgins/Collectbritain

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I'm Collectbritain's managing editor and health and safety reporter. If there’s something you think we should be investigating, please email me at [email protected]! And you can follow all the work we do by subscribing to our free newsletter! Hablo español, y quiero mantener a la comunidad hispanohablante informada. Si tienes preguntas o información que debo saber, por favor, envíame un correo electrónico a [email protected].