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Citizens call for internal investigation into City Council member’s charges

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 9:48 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Members of Roanoke City Council were again approached Monday about the felony embezzlement charges against Councilman Robert Jeffrey, Jr.

“Today I request that city council conduct an internal investigation of this matter to determine what happened, who did it, whether any state or local laws or IT rules have been violated,” stated David Garland, a Roanoke city resident.

This is not the first time Garland has spoken out to the council, calling for Jeffrey to step aside at least during this investigation.

The alleged embezzlement, which does not involve money from the city, is still under investigation leading up to a jury trial October 25.

Jeffrey’s government-issued iPad was seized by law enforcement but was wiped of its data.

“This very much involves council business, this is a city computer,” said Garland. “These are public records and they apparently were deleted with whatever someone didn’t want the police to have.”

No officials gave comment on the charges against Jeffrey, but say there is no internal investigation being done at this time.

Jeffrey has said he is innocent and will continue to perform the duties he was elected for until proven guilty.

“Some of you complained that victims and witnesses of shootings did not speak up ... who is speaking up for the city if it is victimized?” asked Garland.

Mayor Sherman Lea closed out the first portion of the meeting, pleading with the public to get vaccinated, as COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise.

“I’d like to make it mandatory that we get vaccinations, but we’re not there at this time and I think we have to watch and see where the governor’s headed with this,” said the mayor during the meeting. “Let’s do it because it’s a safe and right thing to do and take the political-ness out of it. It’s not a political football.”

Regarding COVID and a mask mandate coming back to the city, Mayor Lea says the city does not have the power to do that, but given the rising numbers, it’s not something he’s ruling out for the governor’s office.

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