Vance Richards, an officer for the Petersburg Police Department in Virginia, is in the news again for another instance of self- induced misconduct.
The 46-year-old cop, who was running for Charles City County Sheriff, was arrested, charged and indicted with “election fraud” last week.
Turns out, the addresses Richards used to submit his application to run for sheriff were invalid. He is accused of using six false addresses on six different documents he submitted to election officials.
An unnamed whistle-blower alerted authorities to Richard’s lies. The King William County Commonwealth’s Attorney will be prosecuting this case to avoid any conflict of interest problems. The Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation investigated the matter.
The Petersburg Police Department released a statement saying: “Vance Richards is on leave without pay from Petersburg Bureau of Police. His sworn police powers have been withdrawn.”
If you recall, Photography is Not a Crime reported on Richards in June 2014 for hitting 19-year-old Devin Thomas on the side of the head with a baton for video recording police in public, which is First Amendment protected activity, making it completely legal.
Upon arresting the 19-year-old, Richard whispered in the arrestee’s ear, “now record that bitch”. Vance was cleared of any wrongdoing in that incident.
However, in a separate incident, the Petersburg Police department suspended Richards in 2014 for discrediting his own police department on social media.
Richards filed suit, along with another officer who had also been disciplined, arguing that the disciplinary action violated his Constitutional rights.
Earlier this year, a judge ruled in favor of the other officer, Herbert Liverman, but against Richards, stating the following:
In his May 6 ruling, U.S. District Judge James Spencer found that Liverman’s Facebook post was constitutionally-protected speech on an issue of public concern.
Citing Goldstein v. Chestnut Ridge Volunteer Fire Co., Spencer held that Liverman’s comments were “of the highest public concern, and as such they are entitled to the highest level of First Amendment protection.”
“Liverman’s Comment concerned not just the Department for which he specifically worked, but symptoms of a greater perceived illness.” Spencer said.
In contrast, Spencer found Richards’ commentary personal in nature, “replete with references to himself,” and therefore unqualified as protected speech under the First Amendment.
Liverman ended up fired for having sex on the job and using department property to carry out his sexual escapades.
In 2011, an online commenter accused Richards of calling police on a party where both their sons were attending, but having his own son removed to avoid any problems.
A commenter named Vance Richards, presumably Richards himself, responded to that comment, saying he was doing it in the name of safety.
Richards’ stepfather, Vernon Roy Richards, was a Virginia state trooper when he was sentenced to nine years in prison in 1995 after he was convicted for planting explosives in buildings.