Interim Richmond Police Chief William “Jody” Blackwell resigned his post Friday afternoon.
His resignation came 11 days after Mayor Levar Stoney tapped Blackwell to replace former Police Chief William Smith, who Stoney asked to resign amid Black Lives Matter protests that have gripped the city. Stoney said the department needed to rebuilt trust with residents.
A police spokesman confirmed Blackwell’s departure Friday evening but could not provide details about who would fill the interim role.
Blackwell immediately came under fire for fatally shooting a man in 2002.
According to police at the time, Jeramy O. Gilliam pointed a gun at Blackwell, who swept Gilliam’s arm to the side and then grappled with him. While they wrestled, Blackwell — fearing for his life — fired his own gun into Gilliam’s back, police officials contended.
The encounter unfolded after police responded for a report of a burglary and Blackwell saw Gilliam walking in the 2300 block of Idlewood Avenue, roughly three blocks from a burglary scene, according to Times-Dispatch coverage of the incident. Blackwell asked to see Gilliam’s identification, though he didn’t match the description of the suspect, before Gilliam reportedly pointed the gun at Blackwell.
A Richmond grand jury heard evidence in that case and did not return an indictment against Blackwell.
Stoney, when asked about the 2002 shooting last week, said that he knew of the incident but felt Blackwell was the right person for the job.
“I like his record of service,” Stoney said of Blackwell after his meeting with officers. “He is a former Marine who brings discipline and the sort of composure necessary to be a chief of a police department during these uncertain times. I believe in his leadership and I know that he’s the man to get the job done.”
Blackwell’s resignation was first reported by WTVR-6.
(this story will be updated).