SAMUEL LITTLE

How will Chauvin verdict affect policing in Richmond region? See what Loupassi had to say.

Richmond Times Dispatch newspaper article

The nation watched as Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck, and then held its breath as the jury’s verdicts were announced: The white former police officer was guilty of all three charges he faced in the death of the Black man from Minneapolis.

But the jury is still out on how the Chauvin case could shape policing and prosecutions in the Richmond region, even after months of civil unrest here in the aftermath of Floyd’s killing last May.

Here’s what Loupassi had to say

Manoli Loupassi, Criminal & Traffic Defense Lawyer

Loupassi, another defense attorney who previously served as a prosecutor, a Richmond City Council member and a Virginia delegate representing the 68th District, said it’s true that officers, especially those who work in certain high-crime areas of the city, are conditioned to deal with violence daily. He said he thinks officers need a way to reconnect with the community “so you see that it’s not all bad.”

Loupassi suggested an annual sabbatical period for officers, where they do not actively patrol or police but work in the community in some other way.

“You don’t have a gun; you don’t have a badge. You do other things in the community. You coach a team; you work in the schools,” he said. “This idea of de-policing or cutting funding is misguided.”

Loupassi said the egregious nature of the Minneapolis case makes it different from other police killings.

“This one’s different because this one happened over a very long period of time,” Loupassi said of Chauvin, who knelt on a handcuffed Floyd for more than nine minutes as Floyd and onlookers pleaded with him to let off. “But a lot of times, the decisions that the officers are making are in the heat of battle.”

“So many times, police are making decisions that are life-changing and it’s in an instantaneous time,” Loupassi said. That’s why he doesn’t think the verdict will have much of an effect on police behavior or future prosecutions.

“It’s not the verdict — what’s going to affect officer behavior over a long period of time is body-worn cameras,” Loupassi said. “When everything you do is reviewed, every action you do is being reviewed by prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges, you’ll act right.”

“It protects the officer and the public if everything is out in the open,” he said.

During his tenure on the City Council — he was first elected in 2000 representing the West End in the 1st District — Loupassi chaired the public safety committee. Back then, there was no appetite for a civilian review board — not among city officials, nor the general public, like there is today.

“My thoughts on that have completely changed,” he said.

Read the full story from the Richmond Times Dispatch