Filler-Corn picks committee chairs; Lawmaker reports ‘arsenal’ threat and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• Incoming House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn appointed three members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus to lead key legislative committees. It will be the first time in two decades an African American has led a House committee.—The Washington Post

• A lawsuit slowly proceeding in federal court aims to tie violent online speech and planning by organizers of the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville to the real-world violence that followed. “In many ways, social media has become the Klan den of the 21st century.”—Associated Press

• The FBI says a Chesapeake doctor accused of performing unwanted hysterectomies and other surgeries on patients was motivated by greed, submitting fraudulent bills to insurance companies for the procedures. Agents say he owned five luxury automobiles and claimed in a loan application to have $200,000 worth of “gold/art” in his home. An additional 173 former patients have come forward since his arrest last week.—Associated Press

• “The two U.S. Park Police officers who fatally shot unarmed motorist Bijan Ghaisar in 2017 will not be charged with any crimes in connection with the incident, federal prosecutors said Thursday. The decision came just days before the second anniversary of the slaying.  Family members and a number of elected officials expressed outrage at the decision and the lack of any explanation for the shooting.”—The Washington Post

• Police body camera footage appears to contradict a Portsmouth officer’s contention that a man she shot was holding a gun.—The Virginian-Pilot

• Authorities in Roanoke closed schools and ordered residents to shelter in place as they searched for a Marine deserter suspected in the shooting death of his mother’s boyfriend.—The Roanoke Times

• Franklin County school leaders abandoned a policy of denying school lunches to students who can’t afford them following public criticism and a community fundraising campaign.—The Roanoke Times

• “A new memorial to American suffragists broke ground Thursday in Lorton, Virginia, near the site where women involved in the struggle for the right to vote were brutally imprisoned in the late 1910s. It is scheduled to open next year on Aug. 26, the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment’s official certification.”—WAMU

• Campbell County leaders declared their locality a “Second Amendment Sanctuary” in response to Democrats’ victories in the General Assembly.—WDBJ7

• Del. Ibraheem Samirah, D-Fairfax, asked Capitol Police to investigate a Virginia Beach school board member who responded to his tweet about Democrats winning majorities with a private Facebook post saying she was “purchasing an arsenal over the next two months.” Samirah said he interpreted the post as a threat. The school board member called the contention “utterly ridiculous.”—The Virginian-Pilot

• A former Virginia Beach City Council candidate is suing a man she says accused her of having “sex with a physical fitness trainer in a hospital bathroom while the man was there for heart surgery … while his family was in the next room.” The suit claims the allegation, which she denies, was posted days before the election on a widely read Facebook page called “Vintage North End Virginia Beach an Illustrated History Archive.”—The Virginian-Pilot

• A trio of migrating great white sharks is hanging out off the coast of Virginia.—The Virginian-Pilot