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Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith steps down from post

Gerald Sith speaks into a microphone.
Gerald Smith served as the city of Richmond's chief of police for about two years. He stepped down on Tuesday. (File photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

On Tuesday, Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith stepped down from his position. 

Acting Maj. Richard Edwards has been appointed acting chief, according to a city press release detailing Smith’s departure. Smith will be on administrative leave until Dec. 31, according to the release. 

Smith was slated to address the City Council’s Public Safety Standing Committee earlier Tuesday, according to an agenda posted to the city’s website. Discussions of Operation Red Ball and the city’s recent gun buy-back program were planned. 

The appearance didn’t take place, and the agenda has since been updated.

Smith has held the position of chief since 2020, following a stint in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in North Carolina, according to The Richmond Times-Dispatch. 

Since the summer, Smith has been dealing with fallout from a July press conference where he credited an anonymous “hero citizen” for tipping off police about a planned Fourth of July shooting at Dogwood Dell Amphitheater.   

“One phone call saved numerous lives on the Fourth of July,” he told reporters at the time. 

Two men police suspected of the plot were arrested on guns charges, which Richmond prosecutors later withdrew in August. At that hearing, prosecutors also said they had no evidence tying the pair to a shooting at Dogwood Dell.

“We really don’t know where they got the Dogwood Dell thing. I’m not sure where that came from,” said Sam Simpson, an attorney for one of the men who was charged. 

According to records obtained by the Times-Dispatch, prior to the July press conference, police officials told Smith the location of the alleged plot was “unknown.” 

Correction: This story's been updated to clarify charges of the two men police suspected in the alleged Dogwood Dell plot. VPM News regrets the error.