Virginia chapter asks for an investigation, followed by a public report. Herring has not made a decision yet.
RICHMOND – The NAACP’s Virginia State Conference wants State Attorney General Mark Herring to reevaluate the Xzavier Hill case. The 18-year-old died at the hands of Virginia State Police officers earlier this year.
“Virginia State Conference NAACP believes that it should be the reasonable expectation that the evidence related to the death of Mr. Xzavier Hill be given the attention of your office,” said Virginia NAACP President Robert Barnette. “We ask you to immediately use the authority of your office to review the evidence related to this matter and issue a report of your findings. Such action will serve to provide a meaningful model for law enforcement throughout the Commonwealth. It will also signal that you are committed to the position that there is indeed equal protection and justice under the law.”
Who is Xzavier Hill?
Two Virginia State Police troopers killed Hill, an 18-year-old Black teenager, on January 9 in Goochland County.
His death sparked a movement calling for justice in the case. That’s when Hill’s mother, Latoya Benton, began demanding the release of the dash cam footage from the night of her son’s death.
Last month, a multi-jurisdictional grand jury ruled Hill’s death justifiable. The Goochland Commonwealth Attorney’s office also released dash cam footage from the VSP vehicle involved in the incident. It shows Hill’s death at the hands of police.
Hill’s family, however, have not been satisfied by the release of the dash cam footage. They say a second police unit was involved in the incident. The grand jury documents and video from the night make no reference to a second car.
Hill’s mother says it was dash cam footage from this second car that police showed her back in January. That footage, she says, does not support the VSP’s claim Hill was reaching for a gun when troopers shot him.
What Does the NAACP Want?
Barnette, and his Virginia chapter want Herring to review the facts of Hill’s case. That’s partly because the only investigation so far was an internal one, they argue. That, Barnette says, raises serious concerns for his organization.
“The overriding factor is that the folks involved in the case are doing the investigation. The Commonwealth’s Attorney, the state police. And so we just want an outside view of what happened and how it happened,” Barnette said.
Another reason why they’re taking an interest, according to Barnette, is because of Hill’s mother. Barnette says she brought the case to their attention.
“It was brought by the mother, pleading for help and trying to get answers as to why her son was killed,” said Barnette.
Attorney General Says He’ll Consider It
Officials from the Virginia Attorney General’s office say Herring is carefully considering Barnette’s request.
“We spoke to the NAACP this morning about the matter and assured them that we will review the request and give it the careful consideration it deserves,” said Charlotte Gomer, a spokesperson for Attorney General Mark Herring. “Attorney General Herring agrees with the NAACP that independent investigations should be the standard practice in a fatal use of force by police because the affected families and communities must have confidence in the outcomes and decisions made. We understand the Hill family, NAACP, and members of the community want more answers than they have received. And we will explore all options to help get them.”
However, Gomer cautioned that the Attorney General has few options to intervene now. She says that’s because that a grand jury has already made a decision not to indict in the case.
“This case is somewhat unique in that a grand jury has already reviewed the evidence and made a decision not to indict, but we have committed to the NAACP that we will explore any potential avenue for helping to ensure justice and transparency,” Gomer said.
What You Can Do For the Family
According to Benton, she has no plans to stop fighting for justice in her son’s case. In addition to the NAACP, she reached out and asked Herring to review it.
“I just want my son to have a fair case. That’s the main thing. It’s not fair that there’s a trial being heard and no one’s in the courtroom to defend Xzavier,” said Benton.
If you have an interest in supporting Xzavier Hill’s family, donate to the families’ cash app at $crystalcleannva. If you want more information on future protests calling for justice in his case, follow @aqueensworld and @justiceforxzavierhill on Instagram.
To contact the Attorney General’s office, call 804-786-2071.