Roanoke City Police Chief apologizes, issues statement on remarks he made

Protesters showed up on the steps of City Hall in Roanoke on Saturday, March 2, 2019, to protest comments made by Roanoke City Police Chief, Tim Jones.

Chief Tim Jones made the comments regarding rape statistics in the city during a recent city council meeting.

Jones said reported rape cases rose about 40 percent from 2017 to 2018.

But it's the way he phrased some of his comments that has some upset.

"I have seen and been told through our investigators all too many young women put themselves at risk when alcohol and social behavior goes bad," Jones said during the meeting.

Protesters like Elizabeth Axley said the comments Jones made make it sound like the victim is at fault for being raped.

"Basically he's saying you aren't allowed to do normal things like go to a party, go drink, with friends," Axley said.

They want Jones to come forward and say victims are not at fault for rape.

"It is never the victim's fault," Axley said. "No matter if you were drunk, sober, high, if it's your friend, someone you've never met, even if you've had sex with them before, even if you've kissed them before, that does not mean it is your fault... that they did this to you."

Protesters said they would like to see a public apology from Chief Jones and they want him to give an actual plan for what his department is going to do to address the problem.

The protesters plan to be at the next public city council meeting to make their voices heard.

Chief Jones has made the following statement to the media:

"During the February 19th Public Safety briefing with Roanoke City Council, I responded to questions from members of Council regarding the increased reports of rape and sexual assault.Regrettably, my explanation has sparked dismay within our community. I was attempting to convey information gained from our investigations as to how citizens might best protect themselves.I believe it is now clear that I failed to convey this information to the public in a manner that was sensitive to victims of rape and sexual assault.For this, I offer my sincere apology.My hope is that we can collectively focus our efforts toward empowering all people within our community to keep themselves safe.The offenses of rape and sexual assault are offender based and should never happen to women in our society.My response to council concerning the increased instances of rape were not intended to hurt or lay blame towards any victim.As Chief of Police, I am committed to the safety of our City.I want to assure each of you that the collective body of police officers here at the Roanoke Police Department are committed to putting the best interest of this City and the safety of its citizens first, as we continue to serve and protect all within our City."

Sources: ABC-13 WSET & Roanoke City Police Department

Photo: City of Roanoke


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