Tysons, VA

It’s unclear what he was protesting, it’s unclear why he was protesting, but Vienna has an angry chicken-man.

According to last week’s Vienna Police Highlights, on May 2 around noon, there was a trespassing call for a man harassing customers at Clarity, an American-dining restaurant at 442 Maple Ave E.

Officers responded to the report of a man dressed in a chicken costume harassing customers at the restaurant. Members of a political party were having a private gathering at the restaurant. The man dressed as a chicken was with an opposing political party. The manager of the restaurant trespassed the man from the property. The man moved to the sidewalk in the public right of way to continue his protest.

The police report does not specify the exact nature of the political disagreement, but it clearly ruffled some feathers.

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Morning Notes

Wind Advisory in Effect — The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Advisory for the D.C. area, including Fairfax County, starting at noon today (Friday). In effect until 2 a.m. Saturday, the alert says to expect northwest winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour with gusts up to 55 miles per hour. Gusts could blow around unsecured objects and bring down tree limbs, potentially leading to power outages. [NWS]

McLean Community Center Gets New Executive Director — The MCC Governing Board has chosen Daniel Phoenix Singh as the center’s next executive director was to succeed George Sachs, who is retiring on May 7. Singh’s selection to the position, which has an annual salary of $150,000, was effective April 12 but not publicly announced until the board’s meeting on Wednesday (April 28). [MCC]

Help Tysons Plan for COVID-19 Recovery — The Tysons Partnership is conducting a community survey until May 14 to gauge people’s interest in transit, dining, shopping, office work, and other activities affected by the pandemic. A follow-up to a similar survey from last summer, the results are expected to be released at the end of the month and “will be significant to recovery efforts,” President and CEO Sol Glasner told Tysons Reporter. [Tysons Partnership]

Police Body Cameras Coming to Falls Church — The City of Falls Church City will use grant funds and an anticipated $650,000 surplus in the current fiscal year to establish a body camera program for its police department. City Manager Wyatt Shields told the News-Press that the cameras should arrive in the next couple months. A Use of Force Committee recommended that the city evaluate the feasibility of body cameras in February. [Falls Church News-Press]

Tysons Social Tavern Reopens With Outdoor Patio — After a year-long closure, Tysons Social Tavern is back with operating hours from 4-10 p.m., seven days a week, and a new outdoor patio. The bar took over the O’Malley’s Pub spot at the DoubleTree Hilton in Tysons two years ago. [Tysons Social Tavern]

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Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay remains confident in the board’s choice of former Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis as the county’s next police chief, despite reports that he previously faced lawsuits over use-of-force incidents.

With Davis set to assume his new position on Monday (May 3), McKay told Reston Now in a statement that he continues to support the new police chief.

“The history of policing has not centered around the safety of all members of the community. That is a systemic problem we are always working on in Fairfax County,” McKay wrote. “After an extensive interview and outreach process, the entire Board felt confident in Chief Davis’s ability to lead and further reforms to policing. We look forward to everyone in the community engaging with the new Police Chief and engaging in their own conversations with him.”

The board of supervisors unanimously voted on Friday (April 23) to appoint the former Baltimore police commissioner and Prince George’s County assistant police chief to lead the Fairfax County Police Department.

At the time, Fairfax County Board Supervisor Jeff McKay hailed Davis and said in a statement that he would “continue Fairfax’s work on police reform, build on the deep community involvement and relationships with stakeholders, and improve morale within the police department.”

However, NBC4 Washington reported earlier this week that Davis had lost at least two civil lawsuits related to inappropriate use-of-force and false imprisonment while he was on the job in Prince George’s County.

One of the lawsuits was related to a 1993 incident where Davis reportedly stopped law student Mark Spann in front of his family’s Maryland home.

“At that point, Davis says, ‘Give me your hands’ and lodges me to the ground, throws me to the ground, and proceeds to mash my face into the pavement,” Spann told NBC 4.  He also said that Davis continued to intimidate him with a baton on the drive to the hospital and subjected him to further insults.

“I have to this date never experienced such racial slants, slurs and epitaphs and the denigration,” Spann said.

Spann has dried blood on his face in footage from an interview that NBC4 conducted with him in 1993.

According to NBC4, Spann was charged with battery, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, but it remains unclear on why Davis pulled him over in the first place.

Another lawsuit filed six years later accused Davis of false imprisonment when he was sergeant in the Prince George’s County Police Department. The victim also won that case.

Davis, for his part, told NBC 4 in a statement that he was “proud of my long career,” which he says includes a history of reform, a commitment to diversity, body camera implementation, police displicne transparency, and use of force de-escalation.

He will be tasked with the full implementation of Fairfax County’s body camera program throughout 2021. So far, cameras have been deployed at five of the police department’s eight district stations, including in the McLean District.

Davis succeeds Deputy County Executive for Public Safety Dave Rohrer, who was serving as interim chief since February when Chief Edwin C. Roessler retired. Read More

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Morning Notes

Tysons Mass COVID-19 Vaccine Site Now Accepting Walk-Ins — “Walk-in appointments now available! The Tysons Community Vaccination Center now has first-come, first-served appointments 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Saturday.” [Fairfax County Health Department/Twitter]

Virginia Reviewing New Mask Guidelines — The CDC released new guidance yesterday (Tuesday) stating that people who have been fully vaccinated don’t need to wear masks outdoors except when in a big crowd of strangers. Gov. Ralph Northam’s press secretary said in a statement that the governor’s office is reviewing the guidelines “to determine if and where we need to make changes” to Virginia’s mask requirements. [Office of the Governor]

FY 2022 Budget Markup Approved — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a markup package for the county’s fiscal year 2022 budget yesterday (Tuesday) that includes a 1% pay raise for county government employees and an additional $15 million for Fairfax County Public Schools, partly to support compensation increases. [Fairfax County Government]

New Police Chief Use-of-Force Record Scrutinized — Incoming Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis lost two lawsuits over his use of force when he worked in the Prince George’s County Police Department in the 1990s. In the first case, the plaintiff said Davis pulled him over without giving a reason and violently arrested him, while the second victim alleged that “Davis and other officers essentially kidnapped him for a night.” [NBC4]

McLean Day Goes to the Drive-Thru — After getting canceled last year, McLean Day is returning on May 15 as an in-person, drive-thru event with live entertainment, including jugglers, an aerialist, a DJ, and animals. Admission to the annual festival is free, and it will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the McLean Community Center parking lot (1234 Ingleside Ave.). [MCC]

Selfie Studio Coming to Tysons Corner — “Selfie WRLD, a franchise with more than 20 locations across the country, is opening a “do-it-yourself photograph studio” in the Tysons Corner Center mall on June 5…The venue will feature at least 25 different eight-by-eight-foot selfie stations, including a retro pink-and-green diner, a private jet, an upside-down room, a patriotic ball pit with lifeguard stand, and lemon lime neon-colored jail cell with lit-up “smooth criminal” sign (yup).” [Washingtonian]

Photo by Bill Johnson

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Morning Notes

Police Face Pressure from Understaffing, Reform Advocates — The McLean Citizens Association’s recent public safety forum highlighted a number of issues facing the Fairfax County Police Department, from struggles to recruit and retain officers to calls for additional reforms to address civil rights concerns and improve transparency. [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

All Terrain Vehicle Caused Building Fire in Tysons — “Building fire on 4/24 at 1:49 PM in 1500 block Spring Hill Rd, Tysons. Crews located ATV on fire in repair shop. Fire extinguished by fire sprinkler system. No injuries reported. Cause: an electrical malfunction involving the wiring circuit of ATV. Damages: $6K.” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department/Twitter]

Citizens Group Unimpressed by Proposed Falls Church School Names — A group of citizens led by a former Falls Church City mayor and two former vice mayors says that none of the names proposed as replacements for George Mason High School and Thomas Jefferson Elementary School “resonated” with them. The school board is scheduled to choose new names tonight (Tuesday). [Falls Church News-Press]

Vienna to Put Cottage Housing on Display — “Cottage housing…increasingly is in demand as home prices skyrocket and people’s desires for simpler living increase. To give the public a sense of how such a collection of diminutive dwellings might be arranged, the Vienna Planning and Zoning Department from May 8 through 23 will display a scale-model development using dog houses at the Vienna Town Green.” [Sun Gazette]

Meat-Centered Restaurant Reopens in Mosaic DistrictThe B Side, a restaurant supported by Red Apron Butcher, started offering indoor dining again for the first time in more than a year earlier this month. Chef and butcher Nathan Anda marked the occasion with a brand-new menu that features everything from schnitzel to a wagyu pastrami bowl. [Northern Virginia Magazine]

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Monday (April 26)

  • Vienna Police Station Construction Update — 7 p.m. at former Faith Baptist Church (301 Center Street S) — This monthly status update on the construction of the Vienna police station is open to the public to hear the recent construction news and ask questions. The event will be held in person at the temporary police station.
  • Overcome Your Fear of Cicadapocalypse — 1-2 p.m. & 2:45-3:45 p.m. at Hidden Oaks Nature Center (7701 Royce Street) — Considering locking yourself in your house while the cicadas are out? Naturalists at the Hidden Oaks Nature Center are hoping to calm your fears with an outdoor fact versus fiction information session. Register online for $7 per person.

Tuesday (April 27)

Wednesday (April 28)

  • (the) Unruly Theatre Project’s Virtual Improv Show (Online) — 7 p.m. — The McLean Community Center’s teen improv group is putting on its latest virtual performance. Registration is open up to two hours before the show. The Zoom link and password will be emailed to those who register. For more information, contact [email protected].
  • Jane Austen Discussion Group (Online) — 7-8 p.m. — The Jane Austen Discussion Group will be discussing “Evelina” by Fanny Burney, who was one of Austen’s greatest influences. For more information or to request the Zoom link, email Marshall Webster at [email protected].
  • Spring2ACTion Fundraiser (Online) — The Virginia Wildlife Rescue League has its 11th annual Spring2ACTion fundraiser to support Northern Virginia wildlife. Last year’s event raised $8,831, the nonprofit’s best year yet, so this year’s goal is $9,850. Early giving started April 14, but the last 24-hour push ends at 11:59 p.m. on April 28. Donations will go to help take care of rescued animals until they can be released back into the wild.

Friday (April 30)

  • Father-Daughter Silent Disco Dance — 7-8:30 p.m. at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave.) — Join the McLean Community Center for the Father-Daughter Dance! This year’s event will be a little different due to COVID-19. The dance will be in the MCC parking lot, and it will be a silent disco with DJ BigCourt. The $25-per-person tickets include headphones with one of three family-friendly music genres, snack bags, and glow products.

Saturday (May 1)

Photo courtesy Fairfax County Park Authority

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Morning Notes

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Pause Lifted — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration determined Friday (April 23) that the use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine should resume. Its use was halted on April 13 due to reports of rare blood clots in 15 cases out of the 8 million people who have received the vaccine. [Patch]

Smoking Materials Caused Vienna Fire — A building fire in the 100 block of Church Street in Vienna on April 22 was the result of improperly discarded smoking materials. The fire caused about $18,750 in damages, but no one was displaced or needed medical assistance. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Bijan Ghaisar Case Moved to Federal Court — A federal judge decided on Friday that the case against two Park Police officers who shot McLean resident Bijan Ghaisar after a vehicle pursuit in 2017 should be moved from state to federal court, where the defendants’ attorneys hope to have the case dismissed. A Fairfax County grand jury indicted the officers on manslaughter charges in October. [DCist]

McLean District Police Report Commercial Burglaries — The Fairfax County Police Department reported three commercial burglaries in the McLean District in its most recent weekly recap. The incidents occurred at CosmoProf (2976 Gallows Rd.) on April 16 and at Merrifield One Hour Photo (2833 Gallows Rd.) and Tobacco Plus 1 (7640 Lee Highway) on April 17. [FCPD]

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Former Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis will be the new Fairfax County chief of police, effective May 3.

After emerging from a closed session, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously this afternoon (Friday) to appoint Davis to lead the Fairfax County Police Department. He will succeed Deputy County Executive for Public Safety Dave Rohrer, who has been serving as interim chief since former Chief Edwin C. Roessler retired in February.

“This is a humbling moment for me,” Davis said on a video call with the supervisors. “I will take it very seriously and I promise not to let you down.”

The decision came after a firm hired by the county conducted a nationwide search that involved more than 275 community meetings and calls, more than 450 emails sent to stakeholders, and a survey that received more than 3,000 responses, according to the county.

The Board of Supervisors “strongly weighed” the survey results in the final hiring decision, the county said.

“We are delighted to have you on board,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McKay said. “We look forward to working with you on behalf of our community.”

Speaking to FCPD officers, Davis said, “You guys are a great agency. I want to say that loudly and clearly.”

“Is there room for improvement? Of course. Are you up to the task? Of course. Is change sometimes hard or difficult? Absolutely,” he said. “We have to seize this moment and continue to get better.”

Davis said earning trust starts with establishing legitimacy and paying attention to communities of color and people who are vulnerable and underserved.

“We have to meet you where you are, be better listeners, be less defensive and quite frankly, see you,” he said.

On accountability, Davis said he will “call balls and strikes.” And as for reform, he told police officers that the county has already embarked on a number of common-sense reforms and encouraged them to embrace this process.

“Reform is what we do for police officers, not to them,” he said. “It makes you better, it earns you better relationships with the community.”

In a statement released shortly after, McKay said Davis is recognized across the region as a leader in police reform, has a strong reputation, and is well-respected in the communities in which he has served.

“As this nation looks to transform policing to make the community safer for everyone, we have the opportunity for a fresh perspective to further our work on police reform in Fairfax County,” McKay said. “After thorough interviews, the entire Board is confident that Kevin Davis will continue Fairfax’s work on police reform, build on the deep community involvement and relationships with stakeholders, and improve morale within the police department.”

According to the county, Davis served as the City of Baltimore’s police commissioner from 2015 to 2018. He had previously served as chief of police of Anne Arundel County in Maryland from 2013 to 2014, and as assistant chief of the Prince George’s County Police Department from 1992 to 2013. Most recently, he has worked as director of consulting services for GardaWorld.

Davis will receive an annual salary of $215,000.

Photo via Fairfax County

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Updated at 4:05 p.m. — The situation involving a man experiencing mental health issues at Avenir Place this afternoon has now been resolved.

“Officers were able to peacefully resolve this situation and the man was safely taken into custody,” Fairfax County police told Tysons Reporter. “He will receive the appropriate resources.”

The police department added that all officers at the scene “should be clearing out shortly if they have not already done so.”

Earlier: Fairfax County police officers are currently gathered near the Dunn Loring Metro station in response to calls about a man reportedly experiencing a mental health crisis, the department confirmed.

Tysons Reporter received a tip that there was a “huge police presence” outside Harris Teeter around 1 p.m., including at least 15 to 20 marked and unmarked police vehicles. The tipster said that both entries to the grocery store on Avenir Place and Prosperity Avenue had been blocked off.

The Fairfax County Police Department says that officers responded to the 2600 block of Avenir Place after receiving reports of “a man who is experiencing a mental health crisis.”

“Officers are working to peacefully deescalate the situation and provide necessary resources to the man,” the FCPD said. “Preliminarily, the man is believed to be alone in the apartment.”

The department did not respond by press time when asked whether the streets in the area have been opened, but it says that the incident “has not been classified as a barricade” at this time.

“We will provide an additional update as the situation evolves,” the FCPD said.

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(Updated at 9:50 a.m. on 4/21/2021) Local officials and organizations expressed relief at the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial for the murder of George Floyd, while also reiterating a need to address inequities and discrimination within the criminal justice system.

Yesterday (April 20), Minneapolis, Minn., police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder and manslaughter for killing George Floyd on May 25, 2020 by kneeling on his neck. Captured on video, Floyd’s murder spurred protests against police brutality around the world, including in Fairfax County.

Within minutes of the verdict, the Fairfax County Police Department and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay shared their separate statements together.

Notably, FCPD’s statement does not specifically mention the trial or the guilty verdict, but does speak to their ongoing reform efforts and repairing trust in the community.

Del. Mark Keam, who represents the 35th District, including the Town of Vienna, said that the jury’s verdict “confirmed what the world witnessed.”

The Fairfax County chapter of the NAACP released a statement earlier in the day calling for peace no matter the verdict.

After the guilty verdict were announced, the organization re-posted NAACP national’s message on Facebook, which read:

“Justice has prevailed in the case against #GeorgeFloyds killer #DerekChauvin, but the work is not done! We must keep fighting to end qualified immunity, and we must get #PoliceReformNOW.”

Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano tweeted that the verdict was “a first step toward justice and accountability,” but he also called Chauvin’s trial “a dramatic reminder of the pain countless Black Americans experience as a result of a justice system that too often devalues their lives.”

Several of Fairfax County’s Congressional representatives said via social media that they agreed with the verdict.

Rep. Jennifer Wexton called it “a good day for justice.” Rep. Gerry Connolly wrote that the verdict was “just,” adding that “far too many Black lives have been cut short” and “we owe them real, structural change.”

“The jury confirms what we saw: Derek Chauvin is guilty of murdering George Floyd,” Rep. Don Beyer said on Twitter. “I’m thinking about George Floyd, his family and friends, who have been through such much.”

Wexton and Sen. Mark Warner urged their colleagues in Congress to support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would require police to wear body cameras, establish a national registry for records of police misconduct, and limit qualified immunity as a defense in civil lawsuits against law enforcement officers, among other reforms.

Reston Now, Tysons Reporter’s affiliate site, reached out to the Fairfax County Police Association for comment but has yet to hear back as of publication.

Acknowledging that students and staff may be “experiencing a range of emotions” in response to yesterday’s verdict, Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand shared a list of resources for families and teachers to facilitate discussions about racism and help children “navigate this challenging time.”

“We must be fearless to bring forth change to ensure that our students and staff can learn and work in an environment where racism and hate are not tolerated, and all feel safe, valued, and included,” Brabrand said.

Photo by Nick Papetti

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