House GOP moves to block inspector general’s employment

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia House Republicans have voted not to confirm the state’s sitting inspector general, citing their disappointment in how she handled the investigation into the death of a 24-year-old mentally ill inmate.

The GOP-controlled House voted Wednesday against sitting Inspector General June Jennings, who was appointed by Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

Republican Del. Rob Bell said Jennings showed she was not the right person for the job by her office’s inadequate investigation into the death of Jamycheal Mitchell, who died in a Portsmouth jail cell after losing so much weight that his heart stopped.

McAuliffe stood by Jennings last year when some of her staff made allegations she failed to investigate Mitchell’s death properly. The governor said Wednesday he was “outraged” by the House’s actions.

“Jamycheal Mitchell’s death was a tragedy that demonstrated the need for real mental health and criminal justice reform, and my administration is ready to move forward. Unfortunately, Republicans in the House of Delegates are more concerned with playing politics with qualified appointees than with keeping Virginians healthy and safe,” a statement from McAuliffe’s office reads in part.