Making Sense


The Old Michie Theatre

presents a new adaptation of Jane Austen's first novel about the two bereaved and impoverished Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, and their attempts to navigate the complicated world of courtship, wealth and rank in early nineteenth century England. Sense and Sensibility is a live main stage production featuring the dramatic talent of local youth, and includes period style acting, costumes, and dance. Across from Water Street Parking Garage.  977-3690.

51 comments

As a friend of Gerry's living in California, I am surprised and saddened not only by what he's still going through, but the lack of responsibility the police department still maintains for his injuries and the way he was treated. I had hoped to move back to Charlottesville someday, but am wondering now if I want to live in a town thattreats their citizens this way and hold no one accountable.

I mentioned it the other day in the UVa stadium subject, and I will mention it again. Until people start suing over misconducts and wrongful actions against them by persons of authority, the misconducts and wrongful actions will continue. By not suing, Michell, Austin and Silva certainly aren't doing the citizens of this city and county any type of favor.

And Ruth, trust me, you have no idea what a small handful of officers in both the local city police department and the local county police department are capable of. Back in 2005 my life was physically endangered by a veteran officer of the Charlottesville Police Department who sent two Rambo rookies to visit me while he was orchestrating a false arrest. There was no excuse for it whatsoever. It's almost as if they were trying to find a reason to gun me down on my own property. My inquiry as to why things were done in the manner in which they were went unanswered by anybody associated with any branch of city government. But of course this might be because the veteran officer has been sued for $4 million dollars. It now appears as if it will be 2010 before we can even get this lawsuit in front of a jury and expose the many truths about what took place. Two other Alexandria, Virginia cops go to trial in July of 2009 first.

In 1997, I watched an entire chain of command in a local police department commit perjury in a courtroom. Even the judge acknowledged he felt they all had committed perjury in his courtroom. In the same year, another judge called a small group of cops liars to their face while still on record in open court. I have the transcript laying right here on my desk. The judge's exact words were that he had never seen testimony from two groups of cops so "diametrially opposed" to each other. In other words, he was calling one group of cops the liars that they were. The local newspaper and TV stations present at the tiral didn't report the judge's comments to the public though. They usually don't want to bite the hand that feeds them daily press releases I guess.

Sorry, was typing fast. Meant to say "diametrically opposed" above. The C key ran away, hadn't had his morning coffee yet most likely!

THe police department needs TRANSPARANCY. Perhpas one way to do it would be for some former resident who is out of reach to flood them with freedom of information acts and publish their dirty laundry on a web site.

Chief Longo is a decent human being but if I were running the show and I sent the info out that there were no witnesses etc HEADS WOULD HAVE ROLLED and everyone would have known why.The only reason not to discuss personell matters is when they have done wrong. I guarantee he would have shared them if the officer got a call from Obama congratulationg him for something positive.

Barney, the police department needs transparency?

Yeah, OK, good luck with that thought.

You, the citizens and the media will know only what the Police Department wants you to know. Nothing more, nothing less. Unless of course an internal leak takes place once in a while.

The wheelchair story again. Wow! I thought it had been a while since the liberal hook slammed law enforcement. It must be a really slow news cycle. This is like watching a sequel at the movies. Only the unoriginal go back to the well this many times.

Police officers that hit someone with their cruiser should get a pedestrian silhouette 'kill' sticker added to their cruiser's rocker panel. Maybe a lighter gray one for a near miss that results in a fracas.

I'll be the realist that says it. I'm sure Mr. Mitchell's kidney failure was caused by the wreck and not by AIDS that has ravaged his body for years. Mr. Mitchell these bleeding heart liberal law enforcement haters do you no justice sir. They just jump on the popular bandwagon. They will be the first people to be begging for the police to save them if something happened.

OG Armchair Quarter, the vast majority of cases where a citizen needs help real quick are over and done with before a 911 dispatch even goes out to a patrol unit. All the cops basically do is respond and clean up the scene and file a report away on the computer system.

Sick,
Not all police officers are ROD's like you used to be. Don't generalize police by describing how you used to do things in Greene. Oh R.O.D. stands for Retired On Duty if you were wondering.

OG Armchair Quarterback, the same is true in Greene County. A good fight, domestic assault, robbery, rape or murder is over and done with before the call is even dispatched. The deputies respond to clean up the mess and file a report. These victims are the same people you accuse of condemning the police while at the same time calling the police when they need help. The victims call the police because this is what they are taught to do in a criminal matter. They don't call the police to save them. Why do you have such a hard time understanding this?

This was old news dredged up because the Hook tries to make news and not report it. It is called being lazy and avoiding journalistic principals.

Some of you whine too much. Go back and read the article again. It's not old news, let me give you a few clues of what to look for....

1- "A year after Gerry Mitchell, what have Charlottesville police learned?"

2- "A year after the crosswalk incident, Gerry Mitchell says the effects of his injuries linger."

3- "One year later, in the wake of those incidents, the city is spending $700,000 on pedestrian safety improvements..."

Is there anyone who uses a wheelchair on this advisory committee? Has the Independence Resource Center been asked for input by Chief Longo on accessibility and sidewalk improvements for people with disabilities in C'ville? You know, this is also a disabiity rights issue not just a police accountability issue. http://hymes.wordpress.com

Alison,
I agree that having a person who uses a wheelchair on the committee would have helped the other members of the committee understand what they face when getting around Charlottesville.
Here though, are a few things about the committe you may not be aware of. Jim Herndon, who has a mobility impairment and works in the Department of Neighborhood Services participated on the committee. He is also the ADA coordinator for the city. The Independence Resource Center was represented on the committee though not by someone with a mobility impairment. Mobility issues were discussed and included in the recommendations.
Concerns about access for the disabled should be directed to Public Works and Neighborhood Development, not the police. If you know of problems you should take them to the people who are responsible for the infrastructure and get them fixed. Steve Lawson of Public Works and Jim Herndon of Neighborhood Development will both help correct problems. Speaking to them can be very effective. My wife and I have both pointed out problems of access for people with disabilities and the city fixed those problems. People who don't live with a disabiltiy are often unaware of the challenges that others face. It's important to speak up and help them learn.
I appreciate your concern and I encourage you to get to know the people who are responsible for the physical infrastructure, like curb ramps, traffic signals and crosswalks.
Cordially,
Kevin Cox

Geez Ms Stuart, do you think it may be a relevant fact to report somewhere in your editorial that Jerry Mitchell was crossing the intercetion against a "do not cross" traffic signal which was clearly documented on the police video tape, oh and that the Police Officer had a green light. I know they are really small details and don't really fit into your overall theme but aren't reporters supposed to report all the facts and let the citizens take it from there? I seem to be detecting a faint bias on your part against the police, omitting facts to strenghthen your position is cowardly jurnalism.

Sure it would have been relevant to point out all the circumstances of the accident. The driver of the turning police car did have a green light and the walk signal had not been activated. It would also be relevant to point out that it wouldn't have mattered if the walk signal had been activated. Gerry Mitchell waited and then crossed at the time in the cycle when he should have and that was also when the police officer had a green light to turn. He should have seen Gerry and stopped. Instead he drove into him, knocked him out of his chair and then dragged him back into his wheelchair. Activation of the walk light would not have changed anything. Because the officer was not paying attention he didn't see Gerry Mitchell and he wouldn't have seen the walk light either. The officer's inattention caused the accident. If Gerry was charged the officer should also have been charged.
Cordially,
Kevin Cox

Pinhead, I don't care if Jerry Mitchell was crossing against 8 Don't Walk signs measuing 80 feet x 200 feet, you don't run over a man in a wheelchair with a 4,500 pound full sized police car. Anybody who can't see a man in a wheelchair in a crosswalk has NO business driving a car, much less driving a police car.

Had it been a city police car in his own jurisdiction, I now wonder if the cop would have lost his temper, jumped out, handcuffed Michell, violently knocked the closest female to the ground, and taken Mitchell to jail. Like in the Austin and Silva cases.

Kevin, your rely brings up another point of interest. When the pedestrian has an activated crosswalk signal, why can the city not give all directions of vehicular traffic a red light at the same time?

Mr. Cox and Sick,
No offense but you're both blind by your personal bias. Sick is anti-police so we can all see where he is coming from because he is a disgraced ex police officer. Mr. Cox you are a pedestrian activist. Your views will always go in favor of the pedestrian no matter what. You've both demonstrated these beliefs time and time again. Nobody is surprised or influenced by your views.

You see once again sir, it's all in how you spin it. The Officer assisted Mr. Mitchell back into his chair following the accident as opposed to letting him lay in the middle of the road, your description makes it sound like that act was ill intended or somehow malodorous. You state that inattention on the part of the driver caused the accident, that's an opinion Sir; and while stating your opinion is perfectly acceptable in this forum, journalism requires a higher standard. The fact is that inattention on the part of the driver may well have contributed to the unfortunate accident just as disregarding a traffic signal on Mr. Mitchell's part may have contributed to the accident. All I'm saying is if you are reporting a story present the facts fairly and let the readers form their own opinion. Left wing reporters seem to have a problem doing that, this article is so biased it's ridiculous.

Disgraced ex police officer? Keep dreaming, Sherlock Holmes.

Yes Pinhead, the officer most certainly did assist Mr. Mitchell in getting back into his wheelchair. And this was WRONG too. You never move an injured person unless it's a matter of life and death to not move them. You wait for the rescue personnel who has the proper training and equipment to safely move the person.

Grabbing Mr. Mitchell and tossing him back into his wheelchair did more damage in case you forgot.

You're wasting our time, Pinhead.

What would I have done in this case? I would have pulled my patrol car into such a position so as to block the eastbound traffic on Main Street, which of course would have sheilded Mitchell from the oncoming eastbound traffic. I would have turned "My Humps" off on the radio, there were more important issues to deal with than listening to sleezy music. I would have insisted that Mitchell remain on the ground and be as still as possible until the rescue personnel arrived. Under no circumstances would I have run up to a large man like Mitchell, grabbed his arms, and tried to put him back into his wheelchair. He could have had broken legs or arms when I ran up to grab him. He could have had a number of other injuries that needed evaluating before you grab him up like a ragdoll.

Any traffic traveling eastbound would then have to take a left onto 4th Street NW.

IMHO, the above is why you will see Mitchell's case settled. Strike one - a police car hitting Mitchell in the first place. Strike two - immediately grabbing an injured person resulting in more injuries. Strike three - an official police release claiming there were no witnesses, when we all knew this was far removed from the truth.

Your probably right Sick, your lefties don't want to hear anyone's opinon but your own, guess thats why you congegate on the blog pages of the Hook. Lots of sharp toungues and dull minds.

I share my wisdom and knowledge across the entire Internet.

I trust that you now understand the importance of not moving an injured person unless you absolutely have to?

Sorry Sick but no, it depends on the severity of the accident and what the accident victim says as to their condition, no rule applies to every situation. You can spin any topic to suit your agenda. I'm out. Have a nice life everyone.

Bye.

No sick worked for Greene County. Sick would have contacted the State Police then act like he had saved the world.

Wrong again, Sherlock Holmes.

I challenge Mr. Longo to tool around the city in a wheelchair for a day. Let the hook follow along to share his experiences with the rest of us.

The issue here is not the accident. It could have been aby one of us driving and anybody that thinks they are somehow above making a mistake like that is an idiot. Life happens.

The only real issue here is how it was handled after the accident and heads should have rolled. Chief Longo should ahve called eeveryone involved in the decision to issue the ticket and not take witness statements etc., and doled out disipline and an imediate apology to Mr. Mitchell. Anyone with common snese knows that public relations is over 50% of any police deparments job.

When they learn to stop circling the wagons the bad cops will look so bad by comparison that they will be weeded out. The cop that hit him is not a bad guy. The only bad guys here are the people that conspired to make it go away and Chief Longo for not firing them for the coverup.

Common Sense, your comment hits the nail right on the head. You're right, it could have happened to any of us. I know quite a few good cops and understand how incredibly tough and stressful their jobs can be.

I've always been a supporter of Longo, his leadership style, and his vision for the department. But his actions in these two cases were very misguided and have left me disappointed. This should have been a valuable learning experience for EVERYONE involved, but became a wasted opportunity when Longo made some very hurtful statements. By publicly misstating the truth about witnesses etc, he ended up pitting his department against the citizens of Charlottesville.

When a pregnant woman and a man in a wheelchair suffer abuse at the hands of authority figures (whether the abuse is intentional or accidental), that's the time to be humble. Show that you too are a vulnerable human being, and you might be surprised at understanding everyone can be. Keep the dialog open, allow the ideas to flow, and everyone involved benefits even though the root cause might have been tragic. Or you can circle the wagons and watch the insults, paranoia, and negativity levels rise rapidly on both sides.

C'mon Tim, many of us know you to be a truly great guy and a good chief. Please reconsider your part in this. It's not too late for healing on all sides. Knowledge is power, and we'll all be better for it. What can we do to stat bringing everyone together?

Whether this type of incident could happen to anybody or not is a subject wide open to a great debate. When you go into DMV they test your peripheral vision. If your peripheral vision is not good enough to see a big man in a wheelchair just a few feet to your left, I'm not sure you have a right to be licensed and driving on the public highways. Especially when you are actually turning into what you should have seen with your peripheral vision in the first place.

I suspect if this had been an ordinary citizen who struck Mitchell, they would have been sent back into DMV to be retested. If this same officer is involved in a similar type event in the future, Albemarle County had better hope they sent the officer in for some type of peripheral vision testing somehow somewhere.

Ahh, Sick of the local rambos, always second guessing the cops.

Sicko says: "What would I have done in this case? I would have pulled my patrol car into such a position so as to block the eastbound traffic on Main Street, which of course would have sheilded Mitchell from the oncoming eastbound traffic. I would have turned "My Humps" off on the radio,"

Sick, you aren't the cops. Have you ever been a real cop? Have you ever patrolled a street, highway, etc. and answered calls like our police do? Handled life and death situations? I doubt it.

This officer made a mistake, and as an ordinary citizen - even I can see that. Why crucify him? So he picked the guy up and put him back into his chair. That was probably his first reaction to get this man off the pavement and out of further harm. Hey, I can respect his instinct. Oh, and he was listening to "My Humps" -- so freakin' what?? WTF does that have to do with anything?? If he was listening to something you approved of sick, would it make you feel better? Why don't you post your favorite songs and hopefully the officer will see this and start listening. I bet the number one song on your list that is in your car right now is "Bad Boys - Bad Boys"

Please make sure when you respond that you post the link to the bad cop website so you can remind us where you stand :)

SOTLR - we don't know if lack of peripheral vision caused this accident. It could have been driver inattention, or any of a number of other causes. Doesn't excuse it, but to be fair, we have to acknowledge that this happens sometimes.

If ordinary citizens are ticketed for causing this sort of accident, and cops aren't, then that is a serious issue that needs to be dealt with. However, if the victim is ticketed in order to provide an excuse for an officer to NOT be ticketed, then that's doubly worse. It seems likely that that's what happened here. This is precisely why transparency is so essential in this case.

The key here is in the first paragraph: "a pair of incidents..." I said it then and will repeat: only in a lib town like Cville could we have time to appoint an advocacy panel for "pedestrians" in an overreaction to a couple of incidents. Mr. Mitchell aside, how many twits do we see in Cville blocking the street from my Suburban getting through as they saunter across with their iPods and Starbucks? Yes, I agree we need more transparency in the PD...all departments do. Now, if our fine officer who was on wheelchair-hunting detail was listening to music, trying to monitor his police radio and, ostensibly, watching what he was doing, how does that conflict with the department's general orders? This is not a crisis in pedestrian management; it is common sense. Copper, pay attention to driving. Peds, remember, as you daydream about a world where the workers control the means of production, that even a grant from Bama Works won't save you from the idiot in the car barreling towards you.

Oh, and to the potty-mouthed gent who yelled at Officer Flaherty: Watch your mouth, sir. Don't you know that the baby in your girly-girl's womb is shaped by what it can hear outside the body? Cops are notoriously short-tempered when called names in public, regardless of the reason. And--in all seriousness--thanks for your service to the USA. We all know that if it weren't for folks like you, getting pregnant before marriage would be a punishable offense!

Well said!

never been to a game... Officer Flaherty screwed up. He lost his temper in front a half dozen people. He is lucky that he didn't get punched in the face for his behavior. If had been under my command he would have been forced to make a public apology or resign. I will defend any police officer who makes a mistake as they are there to protect me. I will not however stand by and defend a grown man who cannot handle being called a name... especially when he was the instigator in the situation.

Your BS comments about cussing in front of an unborn child are pale in comparison to the adrenaline rush coursing through the mothers body as a direct result of almost being run over by a cop not following the rules (safety first)

This paper should ask chief Longo to sit down and answer these very questions as to why he did not stand up for the citizens in these incidents. If nothing else to clear the air about whether he actually thinks he did right.. then and only then when we have it straight from the horses mouth can we really know who we are counting on to protect us...from the criminals and the rogue cops.

Never Been-- would you care to comment on Flaherty's own potty mouth? Or, as I now suspect, do you not actually know him...? Didn't think so...

Personally, I like the guy, but HE SCREWED UP. Your blaming two people whose only crime was legally walking in a crosswalk is beyond ridiculous. Any cop that reacts that vehemently to someone saying "Watch the **** where you're going!" after they're almost run over, either needs additional training, or an entirely new line of work. Not everybody is cut out to be a cop, and that's okay. Needless to say, everybody has a really bad day sometimes, but a real man owns up to that and apologizes when his actions call for it.

quote: "Sick, you aren't the cops. Have you ever been a real cop? Have you ever patrolled a street, highway, etc. and answered calls like our police do? Handled life and death situations? I doubt it."

Yes, I have.

And in 30 years of driving Sheriff's Office vehicles (Albemarle County, City of Charlottesville, and Greene County), I have never struck any person or other vehicles. Especially a person in a wheelchair in a crosswalk. Well, except one time of course. I intentionally knocked a bicycle over with my front bumper and grabbed the escaped prisoner that was riding this bicycle. Even this is not acceptale nowadays if you pay attention to what is going on in South Carolina right now, troopers intentioanlly running over people and laughing about it and making racist jokes about it - on video.

quote: "Officer Flaherty screwed up. He lost his temper in front a half dozen people. He is lucky that he didn't get punched in the face for his behavior."

Based on his arrests of the couple he almost ran over, and based on witness statements, I agree with you 100%. Next time he loses his temper and grabs somebody, there's a chance he might have to shoot and kill them if they fight back.

Furthermore, hiting a cop has been upgraded to a felony in Virginia now... with mandatory jail time. Because of this, it's best to fight back in the form of a lawsuit.

quote: "So he picked the guy up and put him back into his chair. That was probably his first reaction to get this man off the pavement and out of further harm."

So, you claim or admit his first reaction overruled his training? This is not a good thing. Cops are trained not to move injured persons unless it is absolutely necessary to prevent further injury or death. Mitchell hit the pavement face first. He did not have to be moved. Cops are trained to wait for rescue squad personnel who have the proper equipment to treat and move them without inflicting further harm. It's not rocket science.

quote: "Any cop that reacts that vehemently to someone saying "Watch the **** where you're going!" after they're almost run over, either needs additional training, or an entirely new line of work."

Why? The taxpayers can pay the damages for whatever he does in the future. The only thing that breaks a cop of bad habits is if a jury awards punitive damages, and the cop has to pay those punitive damages himself/herself. It wasn't too long ago a Rambo Rookie cop arrested a fire captain in Hazlewood, Missouri for blocking a lane of travel with the fire engine. The cop wanted it moved. The fire captain said NO! The fire captain was awarded puntive damages for this false arrest, and the officer had to pay them, $18,00.

see video http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=233_1203031330

Whoops, I meant ------ $18,000.

If Officer Flaherty had done his job, he would have taken a DNA sample from the young lady and ascertained that she was, indeed, with child. That is supposedly allowed in Charlottesville.

Common sense, I like the parenthetic "safety first" pun in reference to an unwed pregnant woman; that was pretty funny.

How many Charlottesville cops does it take to push a handcuffed perp down the steps? NONE--he fell.

Perhaps one of the rich, bored, bleach-blonde desperate housewives in Charlottesville who take our tax dollars by creating bogus non-profit organizations can begin a new one: COPS--Charlottesville Oppressed Pedestrian Society.

I'm not sure why being pregnant really plays a role in any of this. Do you think they really care one way or the other, either before or after she was knocked to the ground?

How many cops does it take to jerk an injured man up off the pavement and plop him back into his wheelchair? One. There were no witnesses helping him. :)

I wonder what a jury would have thought if Officer flaherty had run over that couple and killed them both since he was barreling through dinnertime pedestrian traffic without his siren or lights on...

The "safety first" comment was about the odds of killing a pedestrian trying to stop a domestic dispute that 3 other cops were already on the way to.

The department screwed this PR up and deserve the wrath... regardless of whether the police officer got his feelings hurt by a potty mouth.

It is like a restaurant sometimes comps a drink to keep a customer who may be in the wrong from ruining his reputation.

Why is this so hard for Chief Longo to grasp?

Common Sense, while not on a local basis by any means, I have seen a police chief serve up a cop to the public on a silver platter. Sure, the police chief had more than just cause and proceeded to do the correct thing. The public applauded the chief's decision. But the aftermath sure killed the police chief though. The other cops on the force took a vote of "no confidence" on the police chief and presented it to the governing body. The governing body then fired the chief and started looking for a replacement.

So, you have to ask yourself - who's really in charge at a police department? The chief, the officers or the governing body? Do chiefs fear a vote of no confidence? How can a governing body ignore a vote of no confidence in a police chief by the men who work under him? Talk about a can of worms....

I noticed something interesting. SOTLR made it clear that there is no accountability in CPD and yet, there are pro-CPD folks who continued to attack SOTLR for telling the truth.

As Deaf individual who is a fan of Virginia Cavaliers and has several Deaf friends living in C'ville, they told me some alarming stories about CPD officers being condescending towards Deaf people in general. CPD often dismiss them of their statements in different matters. And yes, a couple of friends told me that CPD officers has the "reputation" of driving wild in C'ville.

For some reasons I never bother to believe these stories by my friends until I read this today. Suddenly, this simply fits what my Deaf friends claimed all along.

Maybe Chief Longo needs to be terminated.

R-

We have CIT training in Charlottesville that trains Charlottesville, Albemarle and UVA police in more effective ways to deal with people with psychiatric disabilities, maybe we need a program to train police on more effective and sensitive ways to deal with all people with disabilities they come across in their duties. http://hymes.wordpress.com

OMG...What do these people want? Do the they want the officer(s) do? Get down on their knees and give them a BJ?

Seriously. Get over it.

If you think you can do better job than these guys...by all means, have it...

Try working weekends, holidays, missing your kids milestones etc, all the while working for peanuts, because idiots like yourself think that a traffic light study and a pedestrian study of $700,000 are worth it...

You are the first to job on the anti police band wagon...I bet NONE of you have ever made a mistake in your job...or in your life...Right???

I hope that you never have to call on the police for help...

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