Written by: Sam Orlando
Augusta County, Virginia - The recent arrest of Ronald William Smith, the twin brother of Augusta County Sheriff Donald Smith, on December 26, 2023, has sparked a flurry of questions surrounding potential special treatment and systemic issues within the sheriff's office.
Pursuit and Arrest
The high-stakes pursuit unfolded across Augusta County roads, culminating in Ronald Smith's arrest after a dramatic confrontation with law enforcement. Charges against him include Obstruction of Justice, Attempted Aggravated Murder, Felony Destruction of Property, Driving Under the Influence of Drugs, Misdemeanor Destruction of Property, Felony Eluding, and Unauthorized Use of a vehicle. The chase commenced with Sheriff Donald Smith searching for his brother, who reportedly requested state police assistance after the State Police became aware of the situation, according to a law enforcement source familiar with the investigation.
A Troubled History Unveiled
This incident, however, is not an isolated event. Previous investigations by Breaking Through News into Sheriff Donald Smith's activities unveiled a troubling pattern of behavior involving his brother. From fraudulent inmate calls to charges of embezzlement in 2021, Ronald Smith's history is entangled with the sheriff's office.
Fraudulent Inmate Calls
Breaking Through News uncovered that Ronald Smith was among those using fraudulent means, utilizing other inmates' pin numbers to make calls to the sheriff's residence from Rockingham County jail. The investigation detailed an intricate web of inmate calls, exposing Sheriff Smith's knowledge of these activities and his refusal to report them to law enforcement.
In 2021, Ronald Smith faced charges of embezzlement for allegedly stealing large tires valued at over $1,000 from Pilot Truck Stops. Despite the severity of the accusations, the sheriff's refusal to secure felony charges added another layer to the growing concerns surrounding the Smith family.
Community Concerns and Lingering Questions
As the legal proceedings against Ronald Smith unfold, the Augusta County community is left grappling with a complex narrative involving family turmoil, alleged wrongdoings, and a law enforcement leader facing mounting questions about his familial and professional conduct.
Public Outcry on Social Media
The arrest has not only caught the attention of local residents but has also sparked a heated debate on social media, particularly on Facebook, where individuals have been sharing their opinions and concerns.
Garrett Ima-g Spears-Washington commented, "A racist thug, long documented history of using racial slurs and having it covered up by his brother 🤦♂️ noticed he brandished a spear like a gun but wasn’t shot at at all and taken into custody with no excessive force complaints."
Todd Phillips chimed in, "Anyone else would have got sprayed up bullet holes everywhere."
Makayla Renee added her perspective, "I’m baffled but I’m not because what looked like a rifle was actually a piece of metal. They shoot and kill black people for hairbrushes and whatever else they 'think' looks like a weapon… they don’t give them enough time to 'decipher' if it’s a weapon or not before pulling the trigger."
India Washington echoed Makayla's sentiments, "Makayla Renee so trueee."
The range of comments reflects the community's strong feelings, highlighting the complexity of the situation.
A Decade of Controversy
Moreover, a decade-long timeline of controversies within the sheriff's office, ranging from mishandling evidence to associations the Sheriff has with a convicted human trafficker, has cast a shadow over Sheriff Donald Smith's leadership. Allegations of illegal actions, racial bias, cover-ups, and assaults have fueled concerns about systemic issues within the department.
Seeking Answers and Accountability
The community now demands answers: Did the sheriff's acceptance of alleged criminal behavior by his brother contribute to the troubling events that unfolded on December 26, 2023? Would any other resident be treated differently in similar circumstances? The Augusta County community seeks transparency, accountability, and justice as they navigate this disturbing chapter in their law enforcement history.
As the investigations continue, it remains to be seen whether the arrest of Ronald Smith will serve as a catalyst for meaningful change within the Augusta County Sheriff's Office or deepen the concerns surrounding its leadership.