POWHATAN COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Family of a Chesterfield County teen are searching for answers and justice after they believe their son was assaulted and racially targeted at a party in Powhatan.
Kristie and Jerry Chambers, parents of 18-year-old Jerry Chambers Jr., say their son came to them two years ago and told them about something that happened at a party.
According to the Powhatan Sheriff’s Office, on Sept. 12, 2020, Chambers — a 16-year-old at the time — attended a party at a home in Powhatan where he became intoxicated and passed out.
His parents said he rode in a car with people he trusted.
While he was unconscious, white supremacist symbols, racial slurs and abusive language were written on his head in sharpie and he was draped in a confederate flag.
Those who were present for the incident took photos of the unconscious Chambers and shared them over the social media app Snapchat.
His parents say Chambers showed them some of the photographs that had been taken of him and posted online.
Two days later, the family said they went to Chesterfield Police and the Powhatan’s Sheriff’s Office.
Chesterfield Police said that at the time, the family did not want it investigated. According to Chesterfield Police, on Sept. 14, 2020, CCPD received a report of a suspicious situation that occurred at an unknown location on Sept. 12, 2020. It was reported that inappropriate things had been written on a juvenile male while he was unconscious.
The Powhatan Sheriff’s Office also said the family was unsure whether or not they wanted to file a report that day.
“The deputy encouraged them to meet with the Commonwealth’s Attorney to discuss their concerns and thePowhatan County Sheriff’s Office
deputy scheduled an appointment on September 15th at 9:45 am for them to meet with the
Commonwealth’s Attorney and the Powhatan Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation’s Division
Supervisor. The parents did not attend the appointment.”
The sheriff’s office told 8news, they contacted them twice more after the incident.
However, members of the Chambers family claim that not enough was done by law enforcement.
On Dec. 3, 2021, the Powhatan Sheriff’s office said the parents came back to the office to file a report and proceed with an investigation into what happened to their son in 2020.
“This has just been horrifying,” Kristie Chambers said. “The trauma related to this hate crime has just been devastating to our entire family. We’ve been literally fighting to save our son’s life from September of 2020 to the present.”
The Powhatan Sheriff’s Office said the investigation determined that unfortunately although the individuals responsible were identified during the course of the investigation, limitation of prosecutions outlined in Virginia Code 19.2-8 prevented investigators from obtaining criminal arrest warrants for them.
According to his parents, Jerry Chambers Jr. has been in therapy since the incident.
The Powhatan Commonwealth’s attorney requested a special prosecutor after December 2021.
On Jan. 12, 2022, his parents reported to the Powhatan Sheriff’s Office that their son was a victim of a brandishing of a firearm while attending a different party. An investigation showed that a friend had pulled up his shirt and showed a firearm tucked in his pants. He allegedly stated, “I am not afraid to shoot anybody.”
The office determined the case was not viable because the firearm was not being brandished and Chambers Jr. was not threatened. His parents told 8news, the individual who was involved in this incident was in attendance at the party in 2020.
On Feb 2, 2022, FBI Richmond sent a letter to the family identifying him as a possible victim of crime and they were given a case number. This occurred over a year after the incident.
The FBI has been investigating the incident since earlier this year.
The Petersburg Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office started an investigation yesterday.
“Our office has been appointed as special prosecutor by the request of the Powhattan Commonwealth Attorney relating to an assault and battery which occurred in Powhatan Virginia in September 2020,” wrote Joseph W. Lee III, who is the Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney at the Petersburg Commonwealth Attorney’s Office.
According to family members, investigators are looking to identify the individuals who took the photos.
The Chambers family says their son will speak about the incident at an event held in Richmond on Sunday.