Dogwood Download: Things You Should Know For Monday, Feb. 22

By Brian Carlton

February 22, 2021

Death penalty goes up for a vote, high school football returns and scams pop up

Daily Number

1732 – Now this one might be more familiar than some of our daily numbers. Feb. 22, 1732 marked the birthday of America’s first president, George Washington.

As for how we know? You can thank Washington’s secretary Tobias Lear. On Feb. 14, 1790, he wrote that Washington’s birthday was Feb. 11 “Old Style”, meaning the Julian calendar. When the Julian calendar changed to the current version, Feb. 11 became Feb. 22.

Final Vote Coming For Death Penalty Repeal

One way or another, the Virginia Senate will cast the final vote on HB 2263 today. Del. Mike Mullin’s bill, which already passed the Virginia House, repeals the death penalty. Instead of being sentenced to death:

  • A person would get life in prison if convicted
  • A judge would be allowed to suspend part of that sentence, giving the person a chance at parole.
  • Anyone currently sentenced to death would have that automatically changed to life in prison.

Now, as the bill currently reads, there is one exception. For anyone convicted of killing a law enforcement officer, that parole option goes off the table. The Senate will take it up when they convene at 10 a.m.

#JusticeForXzavier Movement Continues

On Saturday, two sets of protests took place to draw attention to the Xzavier Hill case. On Jan. 10, two Virginia State Police officers shot and killed the 18-year-old during a traffic stop at 4:35 a.m. Officers say they shot Hill after he pulled out a gun.

Officials won’t release the dash cam video to the public, however. Those who have seen the video, including Hill’s mother, say it shows Hill was unarmed when he was shot.

Police say they’ve turned the video over to the Goochland County Commonwealth’s Attorney. On Saturday, protesters first went to the Goochland County Courthouse, calling for the tapes to be released. Dogwood’s Arianna Coghill was there and you can follow her coverage here.

Then later that night, another group of protesters gathered at the Pocahontas building in Richmond, again trying to draw attention to the case. Japhari Jones with BLM 757 spoke with Arianna about the steps they’re taking beyond protesting, to bring action in the case.

If you want to know more about the Xzavier Hill case, you can read our coverage here.

A Reminder For Football Tonight

Yes, high school football returns tonight across the Commonwealth. And thanks to an order Gov. Ralph Northam handed out last week, either 30% of the facility’s capacity or 250 people can attend as spectators.

Now before you make plans to head out, check to see if there are tickets available. Since the order came down, multiple school districts have given the tickets to players, cheerleaders and band members, to hand out to family and friends.

If you do have a ticket in hand, just remember there are a few rules to follow:

  • You have to wear face masks at all times. That goes for all spectators.
  • You have to stay 10 feet away from other groups.

For more information, you can read our story here.

Don’t Believe Everything You Hear

You may get a few calls, emails or text messages in the coming days about the COVID-19 vaccine. Some of these may claim to be able to speed up the process, offering to move you up higher on the list if you just provide either information or money. Simply put, the FBI warns, don’t believe the message. 

“Yes, people are resorting to using COVID-19 as a tool to scam others,” FBI officials said in a statement. “Be careful, folks.” 

When you get a call, FBI officials suggest you take down the information and then call the hospital or health department, just to confirm. You can also check through the state’s registration site, as we detail here.

Question of the Day: Should The Death Penalty Be Eliminated?

Don’t Share Your Card

Don’t post your vaccination card to social media. The Virginia Better Business Bureau says you could be causing a few problems if you do.

The card contains your full name and birthday, as well as information about where you were vaccinated. As with most things, scammers can pull down that data, edit and sell it. Already, reports have come in of people trying to sell fake vaccination cards on eBay and Tik Tok.

BBB officials also point out that someone could steal your identity by combining the information on that card with material already on your social profile.

 Instead of sharing pics of the entire card, the BBB suggests just showing your vaccination sticker. Or, if you’re determined to share the card, block out your personal information.

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