Irvo Otieno is gone; how many more Black people must die before real change comes?

BY: - March 31, 2023

Within the cavernous sanctuary of First Baptist Church of South Richmond on Wednesday, hundreds of mourners viewed a vignette of Irvo Otieno’s brief life. Photos and videos showed him sporting a wide grin alongside classmates and football buddies. His rich baritone voice rapped lyrics to a song he’d written about his love for his family. […]


Youngkin seeks the will of the people but only when it’s politically convenient

BY: - March 31, 2023

Forget, for a moment, that Gov. Glenn Youngkin has toughened the requirements for felons to regain voting and other civil rights upon release. It’s a punitive policy born in racism during the 1901-02 constitutional convention.   Forget, too, the Republican administration didn’t inform Virginians en masse about the changes until Democratic legislators began fielding concerns from […]

Federal court upholds Virginia stream-crossing permit for Mountain Valley Pipeline

BY: - March 29, 2023

In a win for Mountain Valley Pipeline, a federal court on Wednesday struck down a challenge to a 2021 decision by Virginia’s State Water Control Board and Department of Environmental Quality to grant the project a critical stream-crossing permit, concluding state officials “did not simply ‘rubber stamp’” the request. “DEQ did not simply grant MVP’s […]

Youngkin administration now requires felons to apply to get their voting rights back

BY: - March 23, 2023

In a shift from Virginia’s last three governors, Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration is requiring people with felony convictions to proactively apply to regain their voting rights upon release from prison and is not automatically restoring rights for any group of offenders. In a letter sent to a Democratic state senator this week in response to […]


Irvo Otieno’s needless death exemplifies the criminalization of Black mental illness

BY: - March 23, 2023

Irvo Otieno departed this life on March 6, sprawled on the floor of Central State Hospital, his hands and feet shackled.  Otieno died from asphyxiation after Henrico sheriff’s deputies and Central State Hospital employees took turns kneeling on him for almost 11 minutes. Earlier this week, a Dinwiddie County grand jury indicted seven deputies and […]


Another death in custody

BY: - March 22, 2023

By Bruce N. Cruser Henrico resident Irvo Otieno died on March 6 while in the process of being admitted to Central State Hospital. Otieno’s family, their attorneys and the prosecutor who reviewed the video of his death all said deputies assaulted the 28-year-old as he endured a mental health crisis, even though Otieno was handcuffed, […]

Wegmans, business groups ask Virginia Supreme Court to overturn Hanover ruling

BY: - March 21, 2023

Real estate, housing and business groups are backing a request by Wegmans for the Supreme Court of Virginia to reconsider a ruling that property owners near a massive distribution center under construction in Hanover have the right to challenge local approvals of the project in court.  “If not reconsidered,” the groups wrote in an amicus […]

Violent crime in Norfolk is up. The jury is still out on why — and what to do about it.

BY: - March 1, 2023

In March of 2021, a Norfolk prosecutor who had recently retired after 27 years wrote to City Council, the police chief and the city manager urging them to cast aside what he called a “malaise” and explore changes to combat the city’s longstanding violent crime problem. “Violent crime has been a constant over the last […]

Virginia lawmakers send Parole Board transparency bill to Youngkin

BY: - March 1, 2023

In the final days of the 2023 legislation session, the Virginia General Assembly reached bipartisan agreement on a bill requiring the Virginia Parole Board to conduct more of its work in the open. The agency, which has long been exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, would no longer have blanket immunity from transparency rules […]

How Norfolk’s progressive prosecutor ended up in the crosshairs of debate over rising crime

BY: - February 28, 2023

When Norfolk officials held a September press conference following a night in which three people were killed and 11 others injured, Mayor Kenneth Alexander, City Manager Larry “Chip” Filer, Interim Police Chief Michael Goldsmith and Sheriff Joe Baron spoke. Conspicuously missing was Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi, who had not been invited. Alexander did not mention […]

As fentanyl surges, Virginia lawmakers debate how far criminal penalties should go

BY: - February 23, 2023

With drug overdoses now the leading cause of unnatural death in Virginia, Gov. Glenn Youngkin, lawmakers and experts agree solutions are needed to address the devastation caused by fentanyl, the drug involved in more than three-quarters of those deaths. “Fentanyl is killing more Virginians than gun crimes and traffic accidents together,” said Sen. Ryan McDougle, […]

Va. might create religious exemption allowing gun background checks without photo ID

BY: - February 20, 2023

Building on past efforts to grant photo-less ID cards to Old Order Mennonite and Amish communities, the Virginia General Assembly appears set to create a religious-based exemption to rules requiring photo ID as part of the background check process for gun purchases. Under a bill drawing bipartisan support, roughly 2,000 Virginians would gain the ability […]