Another person in custody at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center has died.
Latasha Dove, a 53-year-old woman, was found unresponsive in her cell at the jail on Tuesday (Aug. 1) afternoon, the Fairfax County Police Department reported yesterday (Wednesday).
According to the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office, the post deputy called in a medical emergency at 2:27 p.m. Scanner traffic on Open MHz indicates that an Emergency Medical Services team from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department was dispatched for a cardiac arrest around 2:31 p.m.
“The deputy immediately rendered aid until relieved by ADC medical personnel. Rescue arrived and transported the inmate to the hospital,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release.
Dove was declared dead at the hospital at 3:13 p.m., according to the sheriff’s office.
Dove’s death is now being investigated by the FCPD, as required by county policy.
According to the police and court records, Dove was arrested on July 26 and faced charges of simple assault and property destruction. The assault charge was a misdemeanor, while the destruction of property charge was a class 6 felony, meaning the value of the destroyed property was over $1,000.
Dove remained in custody at the jail after Fairfax County General District Court Judge Mark Simmons set a cash bond for her at a bond hearing on Monday (July 31).
“The judge decided that she was an appropriate candidate for bail yet set a cash bond knowing that she was indigent,” said Fairfax County Public Defender Dawn Butorac, whose office represented Dove. “That means that Judge Simmons found that she was neither a danger to the community nor a risk of flight. It was simply Ms. Dove’s poverty that kept her in jail instead of being in the community. This is a clear demonstration of the perversity of a cash bail system.”
Though Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano has had a policy against seeking cash bail since March 2020, prosecutors objected to the possibility that Dove could be released at the bond hearing, Butorac told FFXnow.
The Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney didn’t immediately return a request for comment. The office recommends defendants be released in 59% of non-violent felony cases, as of March, according to a bond data dashboard launched last fall.
According to the FCPD, foul play isn’t suspected in Dove’s death, but the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine an official cause.
Listed in court records as a Los Angeles, California, resident, Dove is the second person to die while in custody at the Adult Detention Center this summer, following 51-year-old Todd Matthew Gleason’s death on July 4. The jail had three in-custody deaths in 2022.
Before the police department announced its investigation, the sheriff’s office published a news release yesterday about a deputy and nurse’s successful efforts to save an inmate who had overdosed on opioids on July 29.
A man who was hospitalized while in custody at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center has died, triggering a police investigation.
Todd Matthew Gleason, 51, died Tuesday morning (July 4) just hours after a magistrate approved his release, according to the Fairfax County Police Department. He was taken to a hospital from the jail on Monday after telling sheriff’s deputies that he had “pain to his stomach and leg,” police said.
Gleason sustained injuries after being hit by a car, an incident that occurred before his arrest, according to the Fairfax County Office of the Public Defender, which was representing him.
Gleason was arrested on June 17 for a petit larceny that allegedly occurred on June 15, according to Fairfax County General District Court records. Mount Vernon District patrol officers also served him a warrant for failure to appear on a felony offense, the FCPD said Wednesday.
“There was no force used during Gleason’s arrest,” the department said. “Following his arrest, Gleason requested to be taken to the hospital for a preexisting injury. Officers facilitated his request, and he was medically cleared by hospital staff the same day.”
However, Gleason was still experiencing medical issues from his injuries while in custody at the Adult Detention Center, the public defender’s office says.
“Mr. Gleason continued to have medical issues from those injuries during his incarceration,” Fairfax Public Defender Dawn Butorac said by email. “He advised his attorneys of such and it is my understanding that he also advised the jail staff as well. It appears that his complaints were not taken seriously until July 3rd.”
That morning, the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office requested an ambulance to take Gleason back to the hospital, according to the police.
Police say a magistrate granted Gleason a release on recognizance at 9:22 pm on Monday, July 3, a date confirmed to FFXnow by a General District Court clerk.
“Any medical complaints are taken seriously and fully addressed by our medical team,” Casey Lingan, general counsel for the sheriff’s office, said.
Noting that the county jail “is nationally accredited by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care,” Lingan said the office can’t provide any information about medical care given to individuals in the facility, citing confidentiality laws under HIPAA and the Code of Federal Regulations.
An autopsy to determine the manner and cause of Gleason’s death is being conducted by Northern Virginia’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The final results could take 12 or more weeks, depending on the complexity of the case, according to the office.
Fairfax County court records show a string of previous charges against Gleason, dating back to Oct. 24, 2020. It’s unclear whether any of them resulted in convictions.
The charges are mostly misdemeanors, including multiple petit larcenies, trespassing, public intoxication and failures to appear in court. There are two felony drug possession charges, most recently for an April 8 offense, and one felony for wearing a mask.
Gleason had been scheduled for an adjudicatory hearing on Sept. 14.
The Fairfax County Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney said it had no comment on the case at this time, but called Gleason’s death “a tragedy.”
No other deaths have been reported at the county jail this year, but three people died while incarcerated last year.
That includes 65-year-old George Redmond and 55-year-old Kyung Pil Chang, who died within two days of each other in late March 2022. Glenn Meyer, who was charged in a Pimmit Hills shooting in 2020, died last July after a medical emergency, police said at the time.
Fairfax County’s General Assembly delegation will look drastically different next year after a pivotal Democratic primary yesterday (Tuesday) that also bolstered incumbents in most county-level races.
In two upsets, Sully District school board representative Stella Pekarsky eked out a win over veteran state Sen. George Barker for the 36th District nomination, while Fairfax Young Democrats vice president Saddam Azlan Salim ousted Sen. Chap Petersen in the 37th District.
Currently in her first term on the Fairfax County School Board after getting elected in 2019, Pekarsky received 52.2% of the vote — just 662 more votes than Barker, according to unofficial results from the Virginia Department of Elections.
First elected in 2007, Barker was pursuing a fifth term in the state Senate. Encompassing Chantilly, Centreville and Clifton, the 36th District was created by the Virginia Supreme Court during the 2021 redistricting process and includes just a portion of Barker’s former 39th District.
In a statement, Pekarsky thanked Barker “for a hard fought campaign on the issues.”
“Our constituents benefited from the conversation and I look forward to uniting behind our shared vision of standing up for Democratic values,” she said. “I am running to stand up for public education, protect abortion access, keep our community safe from gun violence, and build a brighter future for the next generation. I look forward to sharing that message with every voter in the district leading up to November’s election.”
Pekarsky will face Republican nominee Julie Perry, a history teacher, in the general election on Nov. 7.
In the 37th District, which covers Tysons, Fairfax City, Vienna, Oakton, Falls Church and Merrifield, Salim beat Petersen by 999 votes, or 53.8%. He campaigned as a progressive alternative to the more conservative Petersen, challenging the incumbent on issues like gun violence prevention and reproductive rights.
“This was an incredible grassroots movement of constituents all across the district and we achieved this victory together,” Salim said in a statement. “I look forward to being your Democratic nominee and continuing our fight for the issues that we care about: gun violence prevention, affordable housing, reproductive rights and so much more.”
If he wins in November, when he will face Republican nominee Ken Reid, Salim will become the first Bangladeshi-American elected to Virginia’s state Senate, according to his campaign.
First elected to the House of Delegates in 2001 before moving to the Senate in 2008, Petersen presented himself as a business-friendly, “common sense” candidate. In a statement to supporters, he admitted “the results last night were not what we expected but that happens in a democracy,” congratulating Salim on earning the nomination.
“My term in office and my season in politics is coming to a close,” Petersen said. “I want to thank everyone who helped me in any way along this long and winding journey, especially over the last six months. We ran a positive campaign for re-election based on my past record as a Senator. It didn’t work this time and I bear all responsibility.”
Notably, Petersen and Barker both significantly outraised their challengers, reporting over $1 million each in campaign contributions, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. In comparison, Salim raised just $188,653, and Pekarsky got a total of $639,435.
The Democratic nominees in the other General Assembly races on the primary ballot are:
- Senate District 33: Jennifer Carroll Foy
- Senate District 35: State Sen. David Marsden, seeking to replace Dick Saslaw, one of several retiring state legislators who represent parts of Fairfax County
- House District 7: At-large school board member Karen Keys-Gamarra
- House District 15: Springfield District school board representative Laura Jane Cohen
- House District 19: Rozia Henson Jr., though Fairfax County voters favored Makya Little by 38 votes in the mostly Prince William County-focused district
(Updated at 12:25 p.m.) Tuesday could be among the most consequential days in recent Fairfax County election history.
Tuesday, June 20 is primary election day, though early voting began in early May. While the general election is set for November, the county is overwhelmingly Democratic, so the candidates who win the primaries will be favored this fall.
With five Board of Supervisors seats, Commonwealth’s Attorney, sheriff, and a number of Virginia General Assembly seats on Tuesday’s ballot, the primary could set the course for the county for years to come.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
While five supervisor seats are on the primary ballot, the two open seats are getting the most attention.
Last August, Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust announced he won’t run for reelection this year, opening the door for two candidates who have emerged to take his place. Jimmy Bierman formerly chaired the Dranesville District Democratic Committee, and David Fiske is on the McLean Citizens Association board. In March, Foust endorsed Bierman for the seat.
Late last year, longtime Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross also said she will retire. Now, four candidates are vying for the vacant seat. They include Congressional staffer Jeremy Allen, Mason District Planning Commissioner Andres Jimenez, local business owner Steve Lee, and local business owner Reid Voss.
Jimenez is currently considered the frontrunner for the seat, winning a straw poll by Fairfax County Democratic Committee straw poll in March. His endorsements include actor Jane Fonda, whose political action committee also weighed in on three local General Assembly races yesterday (Thursday).
However, Voss supporters have accused him of being absent from his duties on the planning commission.
In other races, Board Chairman Jeff McKay is facing a primary challenge from retired CIA staffer Lisa Downing, while incumbent Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck is on the ballot against grassroots leader Martiza Zermeno.
In addition, two candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination to take on Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity in November. Herrity, the board’s only current Republican, doesn’t have a primary challenger.
County firefighter John Nowadly has a number of notable endorsements, including from McKay, Rep. Gerry Connolly and several local state senators. Local tech entrepreneur Albert Vega is endorsed by Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano, who is facing his own challenge on Tuesday.
Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney and Sheriff
The primary race between Descano and prosecutor-turned-defense attorney challenger Ed Nuttall for the Commonwealth’s Attorney may be the most hotly contested on this year’s ballot.
Since announcing his candidacy back in February, Nuttall has criticized how Descano manages the office as well as not appropriately supporting victims of crimes. During a joint appearance on the WAMU show The Politics Hour, Descano accused his opponent of associating with “MAGA, antisemitic conspiracy theorists,” while Nuttall responded by calling the incumbent “incompetent” and a “liar.”
The Washington Post has endorsed Nuttall, while Descano has endorsements from Connelly, Rep. Don Beyer, former governor Terry McAuliffe, and five county supervisors, per his website. He also has the support of musician John Legend.
Another notable race on the ballot is for Fairfax County sheriff, where former D.C. police officer and current Herndon High School football coach Kelvin Garcia is challenging Stacey Kincaid, the county’s first female sheriff. Read More
(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) A law clerk and former D.C. police officer who also coaches freshman football at Herndon High School has launched a primary challenge against Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Kincaid.
Kelvin Garcia announced yesterday (Wednesday) that he will campaign for the Democratic nomination, positioning himself as a more progressive alternative to Kincaid.
“To me, there are two sides right now to the Democratic Party on the ballot this year,” Garcia said, as reported by the Washington Post. “There’s the old-world moderate and the progressive who wants to build a future for everyone.”
In addition to serving as an assistant freshman football coach for the Herndon Hornets, Garcia works as a law clerk for the firm Liberty Legal LC after spending a decade as a D.C. police officer from 2008 to 2019, according to his LinkedIn page.
According to the Post, Garcia decided to campaign for sheriff based on concerns about Kincaid’s management of the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, stating that he would make the first 30 minutes of inmates’ phone calls to family members free and house individuals based on their gender identity rather than sex.
The sheriff’s office currently classifies inmates based on their genitals.
A transgender woman sued the sheriff’s office in November 2020, alleging that she experienced discrimination and harassment while incarcerated at the county jail. A federal appeals court panel ruled in August that gender dysphoria is a condition protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act, allowing the lawsuit to continue.
In a press release issued today (Thursday), Garcia said the county needs to “invest in people as they leave our facilities to break the revolving door that brings them right back” into the criminal justice system.
“Our system has let too many people fall through the cracks for far too long, and these problems start at the top,” Garcia said. “It’s time for a fresh perspective in Fairfax County — a perspective that will support every member of our community and leave no one behind. I’ll be honored to lead that effort.”
The primary election will be held on June 20, with general elections on Nov. 7.
Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano is gearing up for what may be the most heated local election race in 2023.
The first-term chief prosecutor, who defeated a longtime incumbent in 2019 on the strength of a progressive platform, is planning to seek reelection next year, a representative for Descano confirmed to FFXnow.
An official announcement is expected to come soon, another spokesperson said.
Over the last three years, Descano has championed reform policies including a diversion program for those who commit non-violent crimes, increased transparency of bond hearing data, and an end to cash bail.
Like Arlington’s Parisa Dehghani-Tafti and Loudoun’s Buta Biberaj, who were also elected in 2019 as reform advocates, Descano has been accused of being “soft on crime” and mishandling certain cases, with those involving sexual violence receiving particular scrutiny. He was also the focus of two recall campaigns last year.
In a statement to FFXnow, Descano touts his record as a “progressive” who has helped the county become “the safest jurisdiction of its size anywhere in the country, saying he’s been “encouraged by many over the last year to continue this work.”
I plan on making an announcement soon regarding the 2023 election. Since first being elected in 2019 I have worked each day to deliver safety and justice for our community. I’m proud of what we have accomplished, delivering progressive criminal justice reform including investments in “next generation” diversion programs, increased use of Veterans Treatment and Mental Health dockets, creating a Red Flag Law team aimed at getting guns out of someone’s hands who poses a danger, and leading a more transparent office by the launch of a public Data Dashboard on our work.
These and other reforms have helped deliver a justice system led by our values all while making Fairfax County the safest jurisdiction of its size anywhere in the country. I have been encouraged by many over the last year to continue this work. I am grateful for that encouragement and also for the widespread community support that has resulted in us having over $100,000 in campaign funds on hand one full year prior to the next election. This shows the strength and breadth of the support from those that want to keep Fairfax County’s justice system moving forward.
Four years ago, Decano was part of a wave of Northern Virginia progressive prosecutors to be elected as their localities’ top law enforcement officer.
In Arlington, Dehghani-Tafti launched her reelection campaign late last month. Biberaj hasn’t yet declared her intentions for next year.
Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Kincaid is also planning to run for reelection in 2023, she told FFXnow by email, though she didn’t elaborate on her reasoning.
Kincaid was first elected in 2013 in a special election, becoming the first woman to lead the office in its nearly three centuries of existence. She was reelected in 2015 and 2019, so this will be her fourth time running. Read More
(Updated at 3:05 p.m.) A transgender woman’s lawsuit alleging discrimination at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center will be allowed to move forward in a potentially landmark decision in the fight for trans rights.
Former inmate Kesha Williams can pursue her complaint arguing that the harassment she experienced at the county jail violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, a U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled in an opinion released today (Tuesday).
The decision overturns a lower court’s dismissal of Williams’s lawsuit, which was filed on Sept. 20 and details her incarceration from November 2018 to May 2019.
“Kesha Williams faced horrible treatment at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center,” Joshua Erlich, Williams’s attorney, said. “We’re thankful that the Fourth Circuit ruled in her favor and we are excited to get back into court to vindicate Kesha’s rights.”
Williams, now a resident of Silver Spring, alleges in her lawsuit that the jail housed her with men after deputies learned that she is transgender and had not undergone genital surgery, The Washington Post reported in May.
Williams reported that the bras and other clothes she was initially given were taken away, she was misgendered and harassed by deputies as well as inmates, and a nurse delayed or neglected to provide the hormone treatments she had received for the past 15 years.
The inability to regularly access the medicine Williams was prescribed to treat gender dysphoria led to “significant mental and emotional distress,” Judge Diana Gribbon Motz recounted in her opinion, which was also backed by Judge Pamela Harris.
Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Kincaid and the other defendants have argued that Williams has no grounds to seek relief, because the ADA doesn’t protect “gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments.” A U.S. District Court judge agreed and granted a motion to dismiss the case.
In her majority opinion, Motz says that argument reflects an outdated understanding of gender identity. Gender dysphoria is now recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a distinct clinical condition that some, but not all, trans people experience.
“While the older DSM pathologized the very existence of transgender people, the recent DSM-5’s diagnosis of gender dysphoria takes as a given that being transgender is not a disability and affirms that a transgender person’s medical needs are just as deserving of treatment and protection as anyone else’s,” Motz wrote.
With the appeals court’s ruling, Kincaid could now seek a rehearing before a larger panel of judges or appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Otherwise, the lawsuit will be sent back to the district court, where it could eventually go to trial, according to Erlich.
“We will not be commenting on a case that is still pending,” the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office said.
The Fourth Circuit is the first federal appeals court to rule specifically on whether gender dysphoria constitutes a disability protected by the ADA. While the lawsuit focuses on the treatment of trans individuals in jail, the outcome could have broader implications at a time when states are restricting access to gender-affirming health care.
“This is not limited to individuals who are incarcerated; any individual seeking accommodations for gender dysphoria will be affected by this ruling,” Erlich said. “This applies in employment, public accommodations, and in any other context in which the ADA provides disability protections.”
A program that enlists Fairfax County Adult Detention Center inmates for litter pick-up, landscaping and other maintenance services will be put on hold.
The Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office told county leaders on June 16 that it will temporarily suspend its Community Labor Force (CLF) effective Sept. 12 “due to critically low staffing levels,” according to the sheriff’s office.
“By doing this, the agency will be able to redirect staff to the core functions,” Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Andrea Ceisler said.
The office is currently down 72 sworn positions, or 14.5% of its staff, according to Ceisler.
The agency reported in April that it had a vacancy rate of nearly 15%, despite additional recruiting efforts. The fiscal year 2023 budget that the Board of Supervisors approved in May included salary increases for sheriff’s office staff and other public safety workers, starting on July 1.
According to the sheriff’s office, the CLF provides public services that would otherwise require county staff or contractors:
The CLF services over 300 county bus stops, shelters and park-and-rides by collecting the trash, doing light landscaping, removing graffiti and performing general maintenance when needed. The crews service many of the county’s stormwater management facilities, including over 1,300 dry ponds that temporarily hold and filter water in neighborhoods and at businesses. They also do landscaping, litter pick-up and emergency snow removal on public lands.
The force consists of work crews of up to five “well-screened” incarcerated individuals, each overseen by a deputy. Participants can reduce their jail time by volunteering for the program, which currently has 11 inmates.
Alternatives Needed for Sign Removals
Due to the CLF’s impending halt, the county board directed staff yesterday (Tuesday) to review potential options for handling the affected services — specifically an effort to remove signs from street curbs, medians and other areas in the public right of way.
The county has relied on the CLF to remove thousands of signs from 100 designated roads under a July 1, 2013 agreement between the sheriff’s office, Board of Supervisors, the Department of Code Compliance and the Virginia Department of Transportation. In 2016 alone, the group collected 23,264 signs, according to the sheriff’s office.
“The number of signs in our right of way today compared to what we used to deal with has made a significant difference not only in visibility, but in public safety, certainly for the environment and litter clean-ups,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said. “We cannot afford to have a gap, not even for one day in this service.” Read More
(Updated at 4:45 p.m.) A 61-year-old inmate at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center died yesterday (Monday) in a hospital after “a medical emergency,” Fairfax County police said.
Glenn Myer was transported to Fairfax Hospital on Friday (July 15) for a medical emergency, according to a Fairfax County Police Department press release. He was in the ICU when he died from the medical emergency, police said.
“Mr. Myer was suffering from a terminal illness at the time of his death,” the release said. “Preliminarily, there are no signs of foul play.”
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will determine the exact manner and cause of death. Police are investigating the incident as they do for all Sheriff’s Office in-custody deaths.
Myer was arrested in December 2020 on charges of aggravated malicious wounding, stemming from an incident where police say he shot another person in his apartment in the Pimmit Hills area. He also shot at responding officers, police said.
“The officers discharged their firearms striking Myer and ending the threat,” police said. “Myer was transported to Fairfax Hospital immediately after the event.”
After he was released, Myer was charged and taken to the detention center, where he has remained since. He was also facing charges of of attempted capital murder of a law enforcement officer, attempted first-degree murder, and four counts of the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Additional raises are coming for Fairfax County government employees, specifically firefighters, police officers and other uniformed public safety workers.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors plans to allocate $6.1 million in the upcoming budget to give a step increase to certain public safety workers hired on or before June 30, 2021. The proposal is part of a mark-up package that will go before the board tomorrow (Tuesday).
“This adjustment, which targets job classes that have seen higher levels of resignations, almost exclusively benefits employees at the first two ranks in the respective departments,” the county said in the pre-markup budget draft.
At a budget policy committee meeting on Friday (April 22), staff told Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity that nearly a third of public safety workers will receive the additional step increase, which along with other raises would translate into 14.01% increases in compensation. Similar to previous remarks, Herrity said the county should devote more than $6.1 million to the increased compensation.
- 4.01% market rate adjustment raises for county workers
- Performance, merit and longevity increases across the board
- A new 25-year-longevity raise for uniformed public safety workers, who got an average pay increase of 7.86%
Other county government workers would get 6.16% salary increases under the advertised plan, according to the county, and the board says it recognizes that recruitment and retention challenges remain.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said in a statement today (Monday) that he wanted to ensure his budget proposal strategically targeted areas where employees were leaving.
Not all public servants would get the changes they asked for, though.
Despite a public defenders’ request for equal pay compared to prosecutors, the revised and likely final budget will not include funding for that. Last year, the county extended 15% salary supplements for state probation and parole officers as well as staff in the Office of the Public Defender.
“If the state were to appropriately compensate these employees, the need for County-funded salary supplements would be eliminated,” McKay said, reading from the pre-markup budget draft. “However, despite the County’s best efforts — and despite the availability of state funding — the state has not taken action to address pay concerns of its own employees, most notably those in the Office of the Public Defender. The funding of this office is inherently a state responsibility.”
He added he has “spent significant time over the past couple days talking to our members of the General Assembly delegation” to address state funding for the public defender’s office.
He shared that state employees, which include public defenders, are slated to receive at least a 5% salary increase. McKay noted that the General Assembly budget is still under consideration, and more adjustments could occur.
For General District Court staff overall, the advertised budget earmarks a 4.01% market rate adjustment uptick as well as performance and longevity raises. That would increase county spending from $1.72 million to $1.8 million.
Meanwhile, the advertised budget will decrease county expenses for the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney from $6.96 million to $6.75 million.
The revised budget, which will be adopted on May 10, also calls for a property tax rate of $1.11 per $100 of assessed value and other changes.