Two cities that have faced major racial reckonings in recent years are hiring new police chiefs: Charlottesville and Minneapolis

Charlottesville hired a D.C.-based firm to help find its next chief in July. Minneapolis hired a search firm in March and has now narrowed its candidates down to three. On their list: former Charlottesville Police Chief Rashall Brackney.

Brackney led Charlottesville’s police department after the deadly Unite the Right rally of 2017, An independent report found that city officials and law enforcement made mistakes in preparing for and responding to the event, and that many residents distrusted police. Among the reforms she made was the disbanding of the SWAT (special weapons and tactics) team and terminating or suspending officers for conduct. She was fired by then City Manager Chip Boyles in 2021 because, as he later said, officers did not support her.

Brackney sued Charlottesville, nine city officials and the head of a police union alleging wrongful termination and prejudice in June. The city has since asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed because it says Brackney was terminated because top officials in the department were planning to leave under her leadership, and to “ensure the viability” of the police department, not because of race or gender. 

Brackney is one of three candidates to lead the Minneapolis Police Department, which also needs to improve its community relationships after police shootings and the murder of George Floyd. The other candidates are Southfield, Michigan Police Chief Elvin Barren and Brian O’Hara, deputy mayor of Newark, New Jersey.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey will make the final call “in the coming weeks,” according to a city news release.

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