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The Fairfax County Adult Detention Center (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(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In her majority opinion, Motz says that argument reflects an outdated understanding of gender identity.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.”

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The Fairfax County Adult Detention Center (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(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.

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Morning Notes

Ferris wheel at Viva Vienna 2022 (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Governor Attends Vienna Memorial Day Ceremony — “Vienna residents joined Gov. Glen Youngkin and other dignitaries at the Town Green today to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation. In his remarks, Rear Admiral Fred Kacher noted that for Gold Star families, every day is Memorial Day.” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

West Falls Church Apartment Fire Displaces Residents — Assisted by Arlington and Fairfax City, Fairfax Count fire investigators are looking into a two-alarm apartment fire that damaged 12 units in the 2900 block of Dover Lane on Sunday (May 29). There were no reported injuries, but an “unknown number” of residents were displaced, including a dog. [FCFRD/Facebook, Twitter]

Transgender Woman Sues Fairfax County Jail — A former inmate at Fairfax County Adult Detention Center alleges in a lawsuit that she was housed with men and experienced harassment after officials learned she was transgender. The case is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. [The Washington Post]

Lack of Defibrillators Keeps Reston Pools Closed — “Due to supply chain delays, the following five RA pools did not receive new Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in time for Memorial Day weekend: Autumnwood, Ridge Heights, Hunters Woods, Golf Course Island, and Tall Oaks, according to an RA announcement.” [Patch]

Great Falls Pipeline Project Halted — “The Virginia Department of Transportation on May 24 issued a stop-work order for a Washington Gas pipeline-installation project on Georgetown Pike after receiving complaints from the Great Falls Citizens Association (GFCA).” [Sun Gazette]

Woman Killed in Annandale Crash Was Community Advocate — “[Eileen] Garnett, 83, was a longtime advocate for revitalizing Annandale. On the day of the crash, she was with a group of county and state officials on an inspection tour of Annandale hosted by the Annandale Central Business District Planning Committee.” [Annandale Today]

“Above-Average” Hurricane Season Forecast — “NOAA is forecasting a likely range of 14 to 21 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which six to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including three to six major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher).” [Fairfax County Emergency Information]

Centreville Park Gets Lighting Upgrades — “The Fairfax County Park Authority will begin a basketball lighting upgrade project this week at Chalet Woods Park, located at 14912 Cranoke St., Centreville, in the Sully District. The project scope includes removal of the existing poles and fixtures, followed by installation of new poles, fixtures and a push button for basketball court lights.” [FCPA]

It’s Tuesday — Humid throughout the day. High of 90 and low of 72. Sunrise at 5:47 am and sunset at 8:29 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Construction at Reston Station during a recent sunset (photo by Wil Villatoro-Reyes)

Fairfax County Man Dies in Alexandria Jail — “Alexandria law enforcement is investigating the death of Anthony Mouf, a 25-year-old Fairfax County man in Alexandria’s William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center. According to a city release, Mouf was found suffering from an apparent medical emergency alone in his cell in the jail’s booking area.” [ALXnow]

Fort Belvoir Housing Contractors Hit with Lawsuit — “After bouncing around houses near Fort Belvoir, pleading with Michaels for repairs and remediation and asking officials on the base for help, Roman filed a lawsuit on March 16 of this year, alleging the owner and manager of thousands of housing units on the base allowed safety hazards and other substandard conditions to persist for years.” [Bisnow]

Fairfax Diner Plans Comeback — After being destroyed by a fire before Thanksgiving last year, the 29 Diner will reopen on Oct. 10, owner John Wood announced earlier this month. Still serving “the thick slices of applewood-smoked bacon, milkshakes, and Texas-style barbecue patrons know and love,” the restaurant will have an updated, open kitchen and restored furnishings that pay homage to its 1947 opening. [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Tips for Handling the Baby Formula Shortage — “As the nationwide infant formula shortage continues due to a temporary shutdown of the plant that manufactures about half of the U.S. supply, local families are impacted, too. Our Health Department advises if you have any questions, check with your baby’s physician or healthcare provider, especially if your baby is on a restricted diet or has any medical conditions.” [Fairfax County Government]

Vienna Burger Joint Expands to Arlington — “HQ2 will be home to Arlington’s second Conte’s Bike Shop, a South Block, the second location of Vienna-based Social Burger and the first brick-and-mortar location of HUSTLE — a high intensity cycling workout business.” [ARLnow]

Capital One Sets Timeline for Office Return — The Tysons-based financial company announced that it will fully reopen all U.S. offices under a hybrid work model on Sept. 6, almost exactly a year later than previously planned. Capital One is one of the D.C. area’s largest employers, with 11,530 associates and contractors just for its headquarters, according to a spokesperson. [Capital One]

McLean Tennis Court Project Approved — The Fairfax County Park Authority Board “approved $650,000 in funding for court improvements at Lewinsville Park in McLean…FCPA anticipates the courts to be closed for up to four months, while these renovations and repairs are made.” [FCPA]

Reston Shop Hosts “Bike to Work Day” Stop — “National Bike Week happens to be this week with the 21st anniversary of Bike to Work Day in the National Capital Region falling on May 20…In Reston, bicyclists can head to a pit stop just off the Washington & Old Dominion Trail at The Bike Lane, 11150 Sunset Hills Reston, VA, 7 a.m.-9 a.m.” [Patch]

Annandale Food Festival Seeks Sponsors — “Now that planning is underway for the 2022 Taste of Annandale, the top priority is securing sponsors. The family-friendly community festival scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 1 in the center of Annandale, is likely to draw at least 6,000 people.” [Annandale Today]

It’s Thursday — Rain in the morning. High of 79 and low of 61. Sunrise at 5:54 am and sunset at 8:19 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Fairfax County’s work release program remains shut down due to the pandemic, keeping one option for inmates off of the table for a little over two years.

Due to concerns about the transmission of COVID-19, the county’s sheriff’s office says its is unclear when and if the program will resume. The program first shut down in March 2020.

“We cannot have inmates going to places of business, potentially being exposed to COVID, and then exposing other inmates when they return at the end of their work shift,” Andrea Ceisler, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, told FFXnow.

Even when the Fairfax County Health Department gives the green light, it’s still unclear if the office has enough manpower to staff the program, according to Sheriff Stacey Kincaid.

The office doesn’t have enough resources to screen inmates and potential employers. Ceisler added that monitoring inmates offsite is a “labor intensive” activity.

Its vacancy rate has risen from 11% last year to nearly 15% this month. That’s despite launching a website dedicated to recruiting and establishing a full-time recruiting position.

“A major issue concerns pay,” Ceisler said. “Although our deputy sheriff recruits attend the same Criminal Justice Academy as Police Department recruits, complete the same training side by side, and have several overlapping responsibilities, our deputies are paid less than their police counterparts.”

At most ranks, ranks deputies receive 2.5% less than equivalent police ranks. At the rank of sergeant and second lieutenant, deputies receive 7.5% less.

“The pay disparity impacts recruiting as well as retention,” she said.

Over the last three years, the number of inmates enrolled in the county’s work-release program has decreased significantly.

In 2017, 112 inmates were enrolled, and 44 successfully completed the remainder of their sentence while in the program. In 2019, just 48 inmates were enrolled, though 32 completed the remainder of their sentence.

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The Fairfax County Adult Detention Center (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(updated at 4:30 p.m.) Police identified the second man who died at the Fairfax County Detention Center this week as the allegedly unlicensed masseuse who was charged with sexually assaulting a woman at an Annandale clinic.

Kyung Pil Chang, 55, of Haymarket was being held at the jail without bond on four felony charges related to a sexual assault at an Annandale location reported on Jan. 25. Chang was found unresponsive in quarantine housing at the jail around 4:25 p.m. yesterday (Tuesday). After medical staff and deputies rendered life-saving efforts, City of Fairfax Fire and Rescue pronounced him dead at 4:49 p.m.

“This morning, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy. Preliminarily, there are no signs of foul play,” FCPD said in a press release. “Our detectives are coordinating with the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office to gather the facts and circumstances surrounding this death.”

According to the Fairfax County Police Department, a woman had reported that Chang fondled and penetrated her while giving her a massage at the Annandale Gerontology Clinic (4216 Evergreen Lane).

“The victim was able to stop the assault, left the business, and reported the incident,” police said in a news release.

Chang turned himself in Friday after police obtained warrants for aggravated sexual battery, object sexual penetration and practicing as an unlicensed masseuse, police said.

Police say Chang was a contractor for “several other businesses” in Fairfax County, and detectives were seeking to identify those locations.

In accordance with both agencies’ policies, the death is under investigation by the Fairfax County Police Department.

This is the second in-custody death that the county jail has seen in as many days. A 65-year-old man identified by police as George Redmond was similarly found unresponsive in his cell on Monday (March 28) and died that day in a hospital.

Prior to that, the last reported inmate death was Christopher Fojt, 30, of Reston, in April 2021.

The sheriff’s office declined to comment on this week’s two deaths, and the police department did not immediately return FFXnow’s request for comment.

Alan Henney and Brandi Bottalico contributed to this report.

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Inside the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A 65-year-old man incarcerated at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center died yesterday (Monday), triggering a police investigation.

According to the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office, a sheriff’s deputy found the man “unresponsive” in his cell at around 9:20 a.m.

“The deputy immediately rendered aid until relieved by ADC medical personnel,” the news release said. “Rescue arrived, continued lifesaving measures and transported the inmate to a hospital. The inmate was pronounced deceased by hospital personnel.”

The Fairfax County Police Department confirmed this morning (Tuesday) that detectives from its Major Crimes Bureau are investigating the death in accordance with the department and sheriff’s office policies.

Police identified the man as George Redmond, stating that he was originally arrested by Alexandria City police for failing to appear in response to a warrant for charges of trespassing and destruction of property.

The Alexandria City Police Department later transferred custody of Redmond to Fairfax County, where Redmond had been in jail since Friday (March 25).

“The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy, but preliminarily, there are no signs of foul play,” the FCPD said.

This is the first death at the county jail since April 2021, when Christopher Fojt, 30, of Reston, was reportedly found unresponsive in a cell and died after being transported to a hospital.

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