Sheriff’s authority is ‘completely separate from mine as commonwealth’s attorney’

12/8/2022, 6 p.m.
As a longtime reader and supporter of the Free Press, it is disheartening to see the author of this article …

As a longtime reader and supporter of the Free Press, it is disheartening to see the author of this article (Nov. 23-26 edition), Mr. Jeremy Lazarus, so flagrantly violate the journalistic ethics that the Free Press exemplified under the leadership of its founder, the late Raymond Boone. Instead of reporting corroborated factual information to the readers, the author inserted his unsupported opinion when he wrote “The sheriff has benefitted from the support of a fellow Democrat, Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette W. McEachin, who has left it to the sheriff to report criminal acts and has not required the sheriff to file charges in cases involving felonies unless she has chosen to do so.”

This is not only a lie, it deliberately ignores my Nov. 17, 2022, email to the author, wherein I reminded him that the sheriff is an independent, elected, constitutional officer whose authority is completely separate from mine as commonwealth’s attorney. I cannot “require” the sheriff to do anything. Further, any individual who believes that they have been the victim of a crime that occurred in Richmond should contact the police so that a thorough investigation can be conducted by law enforcement. If that investigation establishes probable cause that a crime has been committed, my office will prosecute it appropriately, based upon the law and evidence — and not based upon unsupported opinion.

I ask for a retraction in your next issue of this insulting, inaccurate and misleading statement by Mr. Lazarus.


Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney

Editor’s note: The Free Press retracts and regrets any implication included in the news article “Climate of Fear,” published in the Nov. 23-26 edition, that Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette Wallace McEachin might be negligent in the conduct of her office or that a party affiliation might influence her prosecution of felonies alleged to have occurred at the Richmond Justice Center.