The victim's family, the local chapter of the NAACP and the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office say discrepancies abound between what was entered into a police report and what witnesses say occurred.
Detective Melvin has supporters. City Manager Calvin Jamison and acting Richmond Police Chief Theresa Gooch have each issued statements of support for Melvin something highly uncommon for police matters under investigation.
Trammell has been in disputes with Hicks before, most notably in 2000 when Hicks' office charged Trammell with violating the City Charter by giving orders to a city employee. Trammell's attorneys succeeded in having Hicks' office recused from trying the case, and a special prosecutor stepped in. After months of embittered proceedings in which City Council agreed to delay an investigation into Hick's self-paid bonuses, charges against Trammell were dropped.
Now Trammell is putting the heat on Hicks. Trammell says Jamison recently admonished Hicks for not supporting the police and for politicizing the situation. What's more, she says, Jamison has repeatedly warned Hicks against publicly denouncing police. Yet Hicks has vociferously criticized police in the news media.
And now it appears the rift could be growing. Some close to Melvin's investigation say Jamison and Hicks, long considered close, are now very much at odds. Meanwhile, Trammell, who once considered Jamison an adversary, now aligns herself with him.
It is little surprise that police and city officials bristle. When asked last week whether a connection exists between a spike in crime, four fatal police shootings and the departure of former Police Chief Jerry Oliver, Hicks told a Richmond Free Press reporter: "I wouldn't even speculate that there is a definite correlation." But, he added: "Leadership always matters. We have every symptom of dysfunction here."
Jamison disagrees, saying there is no leadership vacuum in the city.
"He has lost his moral authority," Trammell says of Hicks, citing a statement Hicks made to the Free Press. "He says, 'The law has to be the same for everyone.' But clearly, he thinks it doesn't mean him."
Hicks was traveling and could not be reached by presstime.
Ashe Trophy in Play
Tired of traveling to Monument Avenue to pay tribute to Arthur Ashe? Next week you could secure a piece of Ashe memorabilia for your coffee table.
Renowned London auction house Christie's plans to offer Ashe's trophy from the 1975 World Championship Tennis Championship. Ashe won after beating Bjorn Borg 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-0. In the same year, he became the first African-American to win Wimbledon. Ashe died in 1993 after contracting AIDS.
Christie's describes the trophy as "a pair of solid gold over-sized tennis balls," and estimates bids to range from 70,000 pounds (about $102,250) to 90,000 pounds (about $131,450).
The auction, part of Christie's annual Tennis, Cricket and Traditional Sports sale, is scheduled for June 25. J.R.
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