Sources: RRHA Police Chief placed on administrative leave

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A major Richmond agency, responsible for almost $70-million of taxpayer funds, is under fire and one of its leaders is off the job. NBC12 has been able to confirm with multiple sources RRHA Police Chief Hal Hazelton, who is charged with protecting those living in some of the city's poorest communities, has been placed on administrative leave.

Even after multiple requests, RRHA would not go into the specifics but we've been able to uncover Chief Hazelton was placed on leave this weekend.

In recent weeks the board of commissioners has received several complaints and allegations about the agency. Some of them include fraud, wrongful termination, discrimination and lack of proper background checks for employees.

Just before Hazelton was suspended, sources say a police corporal was fired. NBC12 spoke with that man Tuesday. He says he was let go after being asked questions about his personal life. He is a black man who explained he's involved with a white woman.  The corporal maintains Chief Hazelton went to bat for him. Soon after, the chief was placed on leave.

When inquiring with RRHA Tuesday, we only asked about Chief Hazelton's status, not the officer's termination or circumstances surrounding it.

A spokesperson sent us this statement: "While it would be inappropriate to comment on specific personnel matters, the RRHA is committed to a diverse workforce and places the highest priority on diversity, inclusion and its mission to serve. Employment decisions are made without regard to race, gender, religion, sexual preference or any other basis prohibited by law."

We also checked in with several law enforcement agencies on different levels. It appears no one has an active investigation into the authority's police department and this is just administrative.

It is unclear at this point, which agency would investigate the accusations, as RRHA and its police department receive grant money from local, state and federal sources.

We reached out to Chief Hazelton and have not heard back. When NBC12 called the police department Tuesday, we were actually told the chief was on vacation and to check back in about ten days.

RRHA did not respond to a follow up request clarifying Chief Hazelton's status with the agency.

The RRHA Board of Commissioners is scheduled to meet Wednesday. We expect this issue will come up.

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