Former Petersburg City Attorney accused of lying about racial threats

Former Petersburg City Attorney accused of lying about racial threats

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - Virginia State Police officers arrested former Petersburg City Attorney Brian Telfair on Friday morning in connection with an incident a year ago. They say he lied about racial threats that sparked a security scare at a council meeting.

Telfair faces one misdemeanor count of making a false comment for an offense on Feb. 16 last year, the date of a City Council meeting which was postponed just hours before it was scheduled to begin. He was released on his own recognizance.

Telfair denied the allegations to NBC12.

"The allegation being made against me is false, mean-spirited and meant to damage my reputation and standing," wrote Telfair. "After successfully leaving the City of Petersburg approximately one year ago, and after attempting to expose the various levels of corruption in the City, there are those who unfortunately want to shine the light of doubt on me. I look forward to successfully defending this allegation in Court."

He referred further questions to his attorney.

Residents were ready to attend the meeting last February, which was supposed to discuss whether then-City Manager William Johnson should step down following utility bill issues.

However, officials said they chose to postpone on short notice due to online racial threats over the preceding weekend and a follow-up phone call earlier in the day threatening city leaders.

"A potentially volatile situation," Telfair said at the time. "A heightened number of people who are upset. Somebody either in that group or another group has identified themselves as someone who would physically harm certain city officials."

Telfair resigned less than a month later citing health reasons, though he remained on the job until his replacement was named. Johnson was terminated from his City Manager position around the same time.

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