Charlottesville Breaking News

Why'd he lie? Law student's false racial accusation riles

Why did he do it?

That's a question only one person can answer, and that person– Johnathan Perkins– isn't talking. But it hasn't stopped people from wondering what motivated the close-to-graduating UVA third year law student to make up a story about police harassment and racial profiling.

"I was stunned," says M. Rick Turner, president of the local NAACP, "because why would this person put his career on the line?"

The account Perkins penned detailing the alleged event was published along with a sympathetic news story in the the student-run UVA Law Weekly April 22. At Perkins' request, UVA police launched a full-scale investigation, and high-ranking UVA professors decried the alleged incident in which Perkins claimed he'd been harassed by two officers, thrown up against their cruiser, and searched– simply because he was a black man walking home on city streets.

"Whenever I attempted to turn to answer their questions, they forcibly turned me back around to face the car," wrote Perkins of what he called "a real-life anecdote illustrating the myth of equal protection under the law."

It wasn't true, as Perkins eventually admitted on May 5 after the investigation turned up numerous inconsistencie...

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Victims' legacy? UVA overhauls sexual assault policy

Yeardley Love, Liz Seccuro, Annie Hylton, and Kathryn Russell are high-profile names whose cases have given the University of Virginia a reputation for something other than academic excellence: the alleged mishandling of sexual assault and domestic violence cases. On Thursday, May 6, UVA announced it was making some changes, as Vice President and Chief of Student Affairs led a press conference announcing a complete policy overhaul which Lampkin hopes will become a "national model."

"We want people to know we care about this issue," said Lampkin.

In addition to placing more emphasis on assistance to victims, clarifying the definition of "effective consent" and "incapacitation," other proposed changes include:
•the addition of harassment, stalking, relationship violence, cyberstalking, recording or transmitting sexual images, and the knowing transmittal of an STD;
•changing the evidentiary standard from "clear and convincing evidence" (as with crimes) to "a preponderance of the evidence," (the lower threshold used in civil lawsuits);
•the elimination of mediation, in which victims would engage directly with their assailants;
•removal of time and jurisdictional limits, meaning that the university can adjudicate cases that occur off grounds and press cases well beyond the previous one-year limit to any time that the accused student is...

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Bond denied: Man says dog-shooting followed drinking, hunting

One of two convicted felons arrested for their alleged role in the January shooting of a family dog is claiming that it was all a mistake–- that they went drinking and hunting for deer with a vermin gun, when the shooter made a tragic target error. The claims, aired May 5 in Albemarle County General District Court, didn't win any immediate bail, and the assertion that they were deer-hunting with a .17– a rifle whose bullet typically weighs about half the weight of a .22– won only disbelief from the dog's owner.

"Why would you go hunting for deer with a .17, knowing you're not going to be able to bring something down?" asks Mattie's owner, Ed Scarborough. He says that when he and his wife took the dog's body to the veterinarian after the incident to retrieve the bullet, the vet told them it hadn't hit any major organs.

"She bled to death over some period of time," says Scarborough, noting that the allegedly errant hunters could have alerted the family of the accident– if that's what it was.

"If they'd come up to the door and said, 'We accidentally shot your dog,'" he says, "we could have possibly saved her. I don't believe a damn thing they're saying, other than the fact they shot the dog."

Twenty-six year old Justin Tyler Riggs was denied bond after his companion that night, 21-year-old Brian Tichner, testified agains...

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How do you feel about Osama Bin Laden's death?


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The week in review

Deadliest month for tornadoes: Violent storms across Virginia April 27-28 leave four dead in Washington County in southwest Virginia, and one dead in Southside's Halifax County, the AP reports. Two deaths in Pulaski April 16 make April  the second worst since a September 30, 1959, tornado killed 12 people in the Ivy area.

Grimmest homicide scene: Three bodies, apparently victims of gunshot wounds, are found dumped on a Greene County road near Stanardsville around 3am May 3.

Worst homeless casualty: The Albemarle County Fair looks DOA this year because it doesn't have a site upon which to hold the up-until-now annual event. Brandon Shulleeta has the story in the Daily Progress.

Biggest computer heist: Albemarle Public Schools are missing 111 computers using primarily for Standards of Learning testing and kept in a secure, off-site facility, according to a police release. Alex C. Hunt, 34, of Stanardsville is a...

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