A rift in the Chesterfield chapter of the NAACP became evident in December and culminated with the organization’s president calling the police during a... Rift in Chesterfield’s NAACP chapter followed November election

A rift in the Chesterfield chapter of the NAACP became evident in December and culminated with the organization’s president calling the police during a meeting.

Tavorise Marks said the organization’s president, L.J. McCoy Jr., called the police shortly after the Dec. 18 meeting at Second Baptist Church of Chester started. Two officers responded, and the meeting ended after McCoy called the church’s pastor, Johnny Fleming, and he came to the church. “We were asked not to utilize the church,” Marks said. No arrests were made, according to police spokeswoman Liz Caroon.

Last week, McCoy said he called the police because Marks “was very disruptive and becoming a threat to members.” Marks said he didn’t know why McCoy called the police. “It was heart-breaking,” he said.

At the organization’s November meeting, the organization’s entire board was turned over and McCoy was the only incumbent elected, defeating Marks by two votes.

Marks – who is running for the Democratic nomination for House of Delegates in District 62 – said that the organization began holding meetings in January at Bishop Ireton Center, 3300 Old Courthouse Road, north of Hull Street Road across from Rockwood Park.

McCoy said he has continued to hold meetings at Second Baptist Church.

The two groups have separate websites. They both begin with chesterfieldNAACP, but one ends in .com and the other in .org.

Marks’ group uses the .com website, which appears more professional and which Marks said has been the group’s official one for 1 1/2 years. Marks said the local chapter’s executive committee has demanded that the .org website come down.

The .com website lists McCoy as president, pending removal. The first vice president position is vacant, and Marks is the second vice president. Other officers listed include: Avohom “Vo” Carpenter, secretary and “acting president,” Nicole Thompson-Martin, treasurer, and Sara Gaborik, branch counsel.

However, Marks said Carpenter is not the acting president, but is overseeing meetings.

Marks said his group also includes six members-at-large along with the group’s committee chairs. He said Michael Stackhouse was voted in as the group’s first vice president in November, but has since moved out of the area because his wife received a military transfer.

McCoy said that Marks “seems to have appointed himself” to a position. McCoy said it will be up to the national NAACP organization to sort things out.

Marks said that the group moved with the blessing of the organization’s state president, Kevin Chandler.

“[McCoy] started to hold his own meetings at the church,” Marks said, adding that there is no division in the group. “Mr. McCoy [needs] to decide what he wants to do. I want to protect the integrity of the NAACP.”

Misdemeanor charge
Also in the mix is a misdemeanor summons that was recently issued to McCoy for embezzlement. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Thompson-Martin filed the complaint stating that McCoy and his girlfriend made “illegal and unauthorized transactions” using the organization’s account “for at least the last two years. These transactions included paying for dinners at local restaurants and unauthorized cash withdrawals,” Thompson-Martin wrote. “Mr. McCoy and his girl also have an unauthorized debit card. At this time we have proof in bank statements that the current amount stolen is above $250. That amount may rise pending an investigation.”

McCoy referred questions about the charge to his Hopewell-based attorney, Steven Hewlett, who did not return a phone call. McCoy was scheduled to be arraigned March 13.

McCoy said he has been involved with the organization’s local chapter since 1996 and has served as president since 2008. He said he also has been the state organization’s secretary for past five-plus years.

Tasing incident
Differences between McCoy and Marks were visible last year when Marks held a press conference May 31 at the Chester Library about the arrest and Tasing of a 21-year-old black man near Virginia State University on March 28. McCoy said the press conference was not done with permission of the county chapter. Marks said he held the press conference as chair of the group’s Legal Redress Committee.

The Chesterfield Police later said the Tasing of James Edward Monk was not in accord with department policy because no one was in danger. Four police officers who were on scene at the time the Taser was deployed were retrained on the use of the Taser, and two officers were disciplined as a result of the internal investigation.

Monk was charged with obstruction of justice and illegal window tint. The charges were withdrawn Aug. 22, re-filed Oct. 10 and withdrawn again Dec. 17.

Chesterfield Police chief Jeffrey Katz and McCoy recorded a video in June in response to the May 31 press conference.

They rebutted Marks’ interpretation of the March 28 incident without referring to Marks by name. Katz said that some in the NAACP had “played fast and loose with the facts” and “misrepresented information to the public in an effort to sow the seeds of fear and distrust.”