Fairfax County’s top official, local police chiefs and elected officials for the City of Falls Church are stressing the importance of equity and justice as nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd continue.
A viral video captured Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes. Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
In a newsletter to constituents, Jeff McKay, the chairman of the Board of Supervisors, stressed the county’s focus on equity with the One Fairfax policy, saying that he will soon announce ” a blueprint to double down on our commitments.”
“Angry and Disgusted”
McKay also addressed the recent protests in D.C. after reports on Monday of police using tear gas and rubber bullets to dispel protesters from the area around a church where President Donald Trump then posed for a photo.
“I’m angry and disgusted that today, for the third time in as many days, we saw peaceful protestors tear-gassed and shot with pellet guns as they chanted for peace and change,” McKay said.
McKay’s full statement:
To the Fairfax County Community,
Over the weekend, millions marched the streets across the United States mourning the death of George Floyd and rightfully protesting the injustices and systemic racism experienced by generations of African American men and women in this country.
I’m angry and disgusted that today, for the third time in as many days, we saw peaceful protestors tear gassed and shot with pellet guns as they chanted for peace and change. Simultaneously, COVID-19 continues to showcase and exacerbate the disparities that exist in our most vulnerable communities.
Now more than ever, we know it is the role of our local government to achieve true structural change in our communities. We in Fairfax County must honestly ask ourselves, what actions are we taking?; what voices are we lifting up?; and for me as your Chairman, are our policies affecting systemic change in our community?
We are lucky to live in Fairfax County. Our Government has a team of employees who dedicate themselves to making us better every day. Our residents are diverse and challenge us to do more. Each member of the Board of Supervisors believes that we can always improve.
It is our commitment to our diversity that created our One Fairfax policy, which makes equity a requirement and recognizes that disparity is a fact. The Board of Supervisors and School Board adopted it to ensure that it is intentionally applied to all the work we do – not just reflected on when we are in crisis. In the coming days, I will announce a blueprint to double down on our commitments.
We have work to be done. In the days, weeks, and months ahead of us, we will continue to listen, encourage healthy dialogues, and have the courage to fight for what’s right.
“Undo Culture of Racism”
Falls Church’s City Council and City Manager Wyatt Shields released a joint statement, saying that they “re-affirm our values of fairness and equal opportunity for all.”
“Mr. Floyd’s death lays bare once again, a long troubling truth that minorities in this country disproportionately experience violent and fatal encounters with police,” the statement said. “It is a truth we all must confront.”
They said they are committed to working to “undo the culture of racism,” along with promoting justice and peace. The statement did not elaborate on how the city officials plan to tackle it.
Local Law Enforcement Weigh In
Local law enforcement heads have recently talked about the role communities play in shaping police departments.
A letter to the community from Falls Church Police Chief Mary Gavin stressed that community trust is the most “sacred” part of police work.
Gavin then shared how the city’s police department strives to reinforce equality: taking the words “citizen” and “resident” out of policies, focusing on diverse hiring and striving for inclusiveness with their practices. She also called for a structural change that goes beyond firing “bad actors.”
“When public servants fail us by abusing the authority invested in them by the community they have sworn to protect and serve, it destroys trust and partnerships, the fabric of our community,” Gavin said.
On Friday, Fairfax County Police Department Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. talked about the police department’s community policing efforts and addressed eroding trust in law enforcement.
“We shall have faith the local and federal justice systems will navigate toward justice for the Floyd family, the communities impacted, and our entire nation,” he said. “However, we must be mindful there is a healing process where righteous anger needs to be constructively exercised through the right to free speech.”
Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash
Beyer Rebukes Trump’s “Naked Authoritarianism” — “U.S. Rep. Don Beyer, who represents the 8th District of Virginia that includes the City of Falls Church, issued a sharp rebuke of President Trump’s actions and words on Monday.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Bike Buddies — “The Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling (FABB) has established a bike-adviser program to encourage people to try bicycling during the shutdown of Silver Line and Orange Line Metro stations over the summer.” [Inside NoVa]
Crime Time — “Homicides spiked 9.5 percent in Virginia last year, while motor-vehicle thefts, burglaries and drug arrests declined, according to Virginia State Police statistics released May 29.” [Inside NoVa]
More Options for Outdoor Seating — “Vienna Town Council adopted a temporary emergency ordinance [Monday night] that allows Town of Vienna businesses to take advantage of outdoor commercial activities that currently are permitted under Phase One of the Forward Virginia business reopening plan.” [Town of Vienna]
Photo via Virginia Department of Transportation
Tysons Reporter’s staff photographer Jay Westcott ventured out to the Mosaic District last week right before the first part of Gov. Ralph Northam’s multi-phase reopening strategy started in the county.
Westcott spotted at least a dozen people milling around the green outside the Angelika Film Center, walking dogs, getting takeout from local eateries and sitting outside 6 feet apart from other people.
Deka Lash and Mom and Pop have now reopened, while Anthropologie is offering curbside pick-up, according to the Mosaic District Facebook page. Meanwhile, home goods store Great Gatherings re-reopened in its new location, the posts said.
In addition to the businesses opening their doors again after temporary closures, people can also spot signs for upcoming businesses, like Sephora, Gyu Shige and Urban Hot Pot.
Tables and chairs — with a sign warning people against moving them — are set up outside West Elm. Some of the stores and restaurants have placards on the ground to remind people to social distance.
“Practice social distancing. Wash your hands often. Wear a mask when appropriate,” the sign said.
For that last point, many of the people Westcott captured in his photos did have face coverings.
CVS announced dozens of new drive-thru testing sites for COVID-19 in Virginia with a few near Tysons.
Of the 39 pharmacies offering the tests, two locations are near Merrifield and one is in Great Falls, according to the company’s website.
The locations near Merrifield can be found at 3921 Prosperity Avenue and 10090 Fairfax Blvd, while the address for the Great Falls location is 1020 Seneca Road.
These locations are a part of a nationwide initiative offering 986 total testing locations, the website said.
Patients must register in advance at CVS.com and take a brief survey before making an appointment, according to the website.
The locations will accept most major insurance providers so people may be able to get a free test, the site said.
Respondents are asked for information including birthdate, symptoms, if they have a reference from a doctor or official and if they have preexisting health conditions that might put them at a higher risk.
CVS joins the growing list of places where people can get tested. Tysons Reporter recently compiled a list of places where people can get COVID-19 tests around Tysons.
Image via Google Maps
Fairfax County Police arrested a man for allegedly trying to buy a Maserati in Tysons using fake IDs and stolen credit cards.
The incident happened Thursday (May 28) morning at the Imperial Highline of Tysons (8201 Leesburg Pike).
Police said that the 27-year-old man who lives in D.C. had stolen credit cards and fictitious identifications.
Police charged him with five counts of credit card larceny, possession of a fictitious driver’s license, falsely identify self to law enforcement and obscure/alter a vehicle identification number.
Photo by Thomas Allsop on Unsplash
Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.
Since quarantine hit, Facebook stalking has been my new (okay, fine, continued) source of entertainment research.
Anything “new” to make the day more exciting and something to look forward to. Recently I stumbled upon a feature where you can request these 2 dessert trucks to come to your neighborhood and deliver treats to you and your neighbors.
Scoops2U: Ice Cream
Follow their Facebook page for details on where the truck will be. You can visit their website for updates as well and see the flavors. There you can request a visit to your part of town.
Kona Ice: Shaved Ice
Follow this Facebook page (there are many as there are trucks all over NoVA). You can see where they’ll be and at what time. We placed an order online, paid online, and then my kids got to pick their flavor when the truck rolled up in front of my house. A great way to chat on our lawn with our neighbors.
It was a small treat that was affordable as well as exciting!
If you want other options, don’t forget that these places are all doing contact-less pick up:
Four people are displaced following a fire at their home in the Idylwood area last week.
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue said that the fire started around 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday (May 27) in the 7100 block of Shreve Road.
“Units arrived on the scene of a two-story, single-family home with smoke showing from the roof,” the fire department said. “Crews located a fire on the first floor and quickly extinguished.”
The four people at the house reported the fire after smelling smoke and seeing flames in the laundry room, the fire department said.
The people accepted Red Cross assistance after being displaced because of the fire, which caused roughly $37,500 worth of damages, the fire department said.
The fire department is still investigating what started the fire in the first-floor laundry room, adding that no injuries to civilians nor firefighters have been reported.
Photo courtesy of M. Clarke
As the sixth day of protests following George Floyd’s death at hands of a Minneapolis police officer continue, local law enforcement officials say they have faith the justice system will produce a just outcome for Floyd and his family.
Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin was arrested and fired after a viral video shows the officer holding his knee to Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes on Memorial Day. Three other officers involved in the incident were also fired.
The incident prompted Fairfax County Police Department Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. to reflect on ongoing challenges that erode the public’s trust in law enforcement.
“We shall have faith the local and federal justice systems will navigate toward justice for the Floyd family, the communities impacted, and our entire nation. However, we must be mindful there is a healing process where righteous anger needs to be constructively exercised through the right to free speech,” Roessler wrote.
Roessler noted that FCPD’s community policing efforts and collaborations with locals have helped the department operate in a transparent and accountable manner.
“Fairfax County is blessed to have a highly engaged community which helps our Police Department transparently use a co-production of policing philosophy to ensure our hiring processes, training, policies, and internal and external accountability systems are meeting the expectations of the highest levels of standards by our community served and the law enforcement profession,” he said.
Here’s more from the chief on FCPD’s community engagement efforts:
During the last few trying days and today, I’ve personally networked with our community advocates to ensure they have access to their Chief and the senior law enforcement leaders of the Department to create robust dialogue to understand the awful events that have unfolded recently throughout our country as we need to increase our conversations about the erosion of the public’s trust for law enforcement as we continue to observe the disproportionately of the deaths of our African American community members.
As a reminder, we have updated our use of force policies over the years using the co-production of policing model, vetted our policies and training through the Public Safety Committee, and we continue to leverage the partnerships created with community members who were part of the Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission.
Additionally, we are grateful for the external accountability measures from the Police Civilian Review Panel, the Independent Police Auditor, the voluntary submission to both state and national accreditation agencies, and the periodic independent reviews of our lines of business by academic institutions.
“We continue to pray for Mr. Floyd’s family as individuals, a Police Department, and as a community who all collectively value the sanctity of all human life,” he added.
Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash
Parking lots and restrooms are reopening along the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
The National Park Service recently announced that the parking areas and restrooms will be available by Wednesday (June 3). People were able to access some of them starting Friday (May 29).
“The National Park Service (NPS) is working with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis,” according to NPS.
The parking areas include Fort Marcy in McLean, along with several parks in Alexandria and Arlington. “Parking areas at Great Falls Park have already reopened and will be open at 50 percent capacity,” NPS said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has guidelines for how people can enjoy parks and recreational facilities with reduced risk of spreading COVID-19.
Image via Google Maps
Tysons DMV Has Reopened — Starting today, the location at 1968 Gallows Road will be open by appointment only from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday. [Patch]
More Outdoor Areas Open at Public Schools — “In accordance with Fairfax County’s Phase 1 reopening guidelines, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) is reopening additional outdoor areas on school grounds to the community, effective Friday, May 29. Reopening on May 29 will be athletic fields (for walking and recreational use from 8 a.m. to sundown) and gardens.” [FCPS]
Art Aid — “ARTSFAIRFAX [Thursday] announced $100,000 in available funding through the newly created Emergency Relief and Recovery Grant Program. Funding will provide critical support to Fairfax County and the Cities of Fairfax and Falls Church arts organizations and Fairfax County individual artists most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The online grant application… closes on June 29, 2020.” [Patch]
Public Hearing on Controversial Zoning Code Tonight — “The Vienna Town Council plans to hold a public hearing on Monday about what to do about the contentious Maple Avenue Commercial (MAC) zone.” [Tysons Reporter]
Phase 2 May Start Soon — “Gov. Ralph Northam said Thursday that more of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions could be lifted as soon as June 5… Northern Virginia leaders said earlier this week they’d be interested in moving to Phase Two at the same time as the rest of the state.” [Inside NoVa]
Booze Delivery? — “At some point in the near future, the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority is hoping to execute the first home liquor delivery in its 86-year history.” [Inside NoVa]