48ºF

Former candidate accuses Roanoke city councilman of abuse of power

Shawn Hunter accused Councilman John Garland over work in NW Roanoke

ROANOKE, Va. – A former Roanoke City Council candidate filed a complaint with the city alleging ethics violations by current City Councilman John Garland.

Shawn Hunter presented his complaint to the council Monday afternoon. Hunter and Garland used to be allies, working to redevelop Northwest Roanoke. Garland said that relationship ended after it became public that Hunter sent an unsolicited naked photo to a local reporter. Hunter was arrested for that, but was later cleared of any charges.

"I feel that if you are in a position of authority, that you yourself should be willing to accept accountability for your actions," Hunter said. "His actions weren't a mistake, his actions were intentional for self-gain."

Hunter alleges Garland abused his City Council seat and used him to develop business along 11th Street in Northwest Roanoke. He also accused Garland of asking him to physically assault Grover Price, another neighborhood activist. Garland said all of those claims are false.

"That's the irony of the situation, because I feel like I was invited into the neighborhood, particularly from Sean (Hunter). to be able to make a difference in the neighborhood by getting a dilapidated building and fixing it," Garland said. "And as soon as I do it, I start getting criticism from him and others about what am I doing over in that neighborhood."

The complaint was sent to the Commonwealth's Attorney, who said that Hunter did not allege a specific crime, but that the office will review it.