Supervisor Says Police Chief “to Blame” for Citizen’s Email Investigation on Radio Show | New
Growing tensions between Prince William County Republican supervisors, the new county police chief and the local NAACP chairman show no signs of abating after police investigated an email from a citizen with the “Government Target” subject line, which criticized some Democratic county supervisors.
The email in question was sent by Robert Hand, a resident of Dumfries, to the eight supervisors in Prince William County on August 3, shortly before an afternoon board meeting. The next day, the police sent an officer to Hand’s home to question him, but ultimately determined that the email did not violate any law.
Cozy Bailey also sits on the Police Department’s Citizen Advisory Council.
After the emails were revealed, supervisors Jeanine Lawson, R-Brentsville, Pete Candland, R-Gainesville and Yesli Vega, R-Coles, demanded that Newsham provide a “full account” in public as to why he had. chose to investigate the email.
Lawson has since gone further, publicly criticizing Newsham for his role in the ordeal in a recent radio interview on WMAL’s Vince Coglianese Show.
“If anyone is to blame, in addition to [Supervisor Andrea Bailey] and her husband is Chief Newsham, who I’ve had a discussion with before. I did not agree with his judgment. He’s going to speak to the board on September 7 and we’re going to release that dirty laundry in the public eye, âLawson said on the Coglianese show on August 25.
Lawson said she believed “the chief of police was pressured and, unfortunately, he gave in.”
Lawson is one of six candidates for the Republican nomination in the 10e District Congress Headquarters.
Newsham is due to speak to the board on Sept. 7 regarding the annual crime report and will be available to answer questions from supervisors, board chair Ann Wheeler, D-At Large said last week.
On August 30, Prince William County Police spokesperson 1st Sgt. Jonathan Perok responded to Lawson’s comments. Newsham and Lawson have “an excellent working relationship” and “have discussed their concerns about this matter at length,” Perok said.
Hand is a local gun rights activist and frequent critic of Democratic board supervisors. The subject line of his “Government Goal” email, however, did not refer to county officials, but to another county resident who Hand said was being targeted by county officials.
In an interview with Prince William time Last week Hand said he was convinced he “didn’t say anything threatening” and “didn’t cross a line”.
County documents show that shortly after Hand sent the email on August 3, Andrea Bailey forwarded it to Cozy Bailey, who then sent the email to Newsham with the accompanying note : “For your knowledge of the situation. More malice in the subject line than in the rant in the body of the email, but we take all communicated threats seriously.
A day later, a police sergeant arrived at Hand’s Dumfries’ home and questioned him about his communication with the board. The officer said during their conversation that Hand did not break any laws.
In an interdepartmental email obtained by Prince William time, the investigating police officer wrote that Hand admitted during their conversation that he used “bad wording” in the subject line of the email, but “insisted on the fact that he was referring to citizens being a target of the government and not “targeting the government”. “
Newsham explained his decision to investigate Hand’s email in an August 5 email to County Manager Chris Martino, Lawson and Candland. âIt is our responsibility to enforce the law to follow up when county residents believe they are being threatened or harassed online,â Newsham said.
Cozy Bailey said in an Aug. 25 interview on Fox 5 that her decision to report the email to Newsham was in large part because of the subject line of the email.
âIt was mainly the subject line of the email that bothered me,â Bailey said. âHe said ‘government objective’. I couldn’t discern what this had to do with the content of the email, so out of caution I decided to forward it to the police department.