Norfolk police adopted secret facial recognition program, Va. House amends Marcus Alert bill, Albemarle County relocates Confederate statue, and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• “Norfolk police — without telling city leaders or the public — started using a controversial facial recognition program late last year, one that could end people’s ability to anonymously walk around in public.”—Virginian-Pilot

• House lawmakers amended legislation establishing the Marcus Alert, a mental health crisis response system, to give law enforcement agencies until 2026 to set up the program. The legislation still goes further than the Senate version of the bill, which does not mandate localities participate.—WVTF

• The Senate narrowly voted down a proposed amendment to their police reform omnibus that would have barred police officers from forming unions, which supporters said interfere with disciplinary processes. Opponents called the ban unnecessary.—VPM

• Ron Villanueva, a former GOP delegate from Virginia Beach who just finished serving a 10-month prison sentence for fraud, is backing legislation that would allow inmates to earn more credits for good behavior. He said that while he backed stiff penalties as a lawmaker, he’s since learned the value of human redemption.—Washington Post

• Kanye West is asking the Supreme Court of Virginia to hear his appeal of a Richmond judge’s decision to throw him off the state’s presidential ballot.—Washington Post

• Candidates for the 5th Congressional district debated for the first time. Republican Bob Good accused his opponent of not supporting police and said he backed a mandatory death penalty for anyone who kills an officer. Democrat Cameron Webb argued Good didn’t show support for police when he was on the Campbell County Board of Supervisors and opposed raises for the sheriff’s department.—Daily Progress, Roanoke Times

• ICE is asking a federal judge to lift an injunction barring it from transferring detainees to Farmville’s immigration detention center, which had been inundated with COVID-19 cases. “ICE has been limited in detaining aliens in the [region] who pose a public safety risk.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• At the Pamunkey Regional Jail in Hanover, 70 percent of inmates have tested positive for the virus.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• There’s a coronavirus outbreak at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, where some of Virginia’s sickest inmates are housed. Forty-one inmates tested positive over the weekend.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Prince William leaders voted to change the name of the portion of U.S. 1 that runs through the county from Jefferson Davis Highway to Richmond Highway.—Prince William Times

• A Confederate statue that Albemarle County is removing from the front of its courthouse on Saturday will be relocated to a battlefield in Shenandoah County.—Daily Progress

• “Hampton hired a private investigator in 2018 to surveil a then-department director who employees alleged was having an affair with another staffer.”—Daily Press

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