Body camera footage of the reported incident involving Supervisor Shawn Graber at the Senseny Road School polling location on Election Day that The Winchester Star obtained from the Frederick County Sheriff's Office via a Freedom of Information Act request.

The Nov. 3 phone conversation between Frederick County Sheriff Lenny Millholland and Black Creek Supervisor Shawn Graber.

WINCHESTER — Back Creek Supervisor Shawn Graber has threatened to press charges against a Frederick County Sheriff's Office deputy over an Election Day incident at the Senseny Road School polling location.

On Nov. 3, the day after the election, Frederick County Sheriff Lenny Millholland returned a phone message to Graber, placed through the dispatch center, regarding Graber's concerns about how Deputy Sean. M. Kennedy handled the call for service at the polling location. The Star obtained a copy of the conversation between Millholland and Graber through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Graber told Millholland he was "thoroughly frustrated" and maintained that Kennedy violated federal and state laws. He said he wanted to talk with Millholland before pursuing charges and making the Sheriff's Office "look bad."

On Election Day, Kennedy responded to a "suspicious situation" at the Senseny Road School polling location. Frederick County Education Association President Shaniqua Williams, who was outside the school handing out information to voters about the candidates the FCEA supported, called police because Graber kept taking photos of her after she asked him to stop. She said his behavior was intimidating and "creepy."

Graber has said he was documenting "unlawful acts" of people passing out white sample ballots. State Code says white sample ballots cannot be used with anything less than 24-point font size.

Williams has said she only passed out red sheets of paper with a list of candidates endorsed by the FCEA.

Kennedy, who was the first deputy to arrive at the scene, told Graber that while he was legally allowed to take pictures, it was "probably not the best idea" to continue to do so if someone asks you to stop. The Star previously obtained the deputy's body camera footage from the Sheriff's Office through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Graber then asked Kennedy, "I can legally take pictures, right?" Kennedy responded, "What did I just say?"

Kennedy told Graber that while he wasn't breaking the law, taking photos of someone who objects would likely cause a scene. Graber kept reiterating that it was not against the law for him to take pictures of Williams. When Kennedy told Graber he didn't say Graber did anything wrong, Graber said, "So why are we having this conversation?"

During his Nov. 3 phone call with Millholland, Graber claimed Kennedy obstructed justice, failed to enforce the code of Virginia and committed "voter intimidation." He told Millholland he had "hard evidence" that illegal sample ballots were being handed out. He also claimed that Kennedy told him he could not take photos of Williams.

"If you're going to tell me I can't take photos because it pisses them off while they are committing a crime, I'm sorry, but you are in the wrong," Graber told Millholland. "So all I'm gonna say is this. I am planning to press federal and state criminal charges against that deputy if you and I can't get this figured out."

He told Millholland he would like a one-on-one meeting with him to discuss the matter. Graber also said Kennedy's attitude gave him a "sour taste toward the Sheriff's Office" and referred to Kennedy as a "knucklehead" and "a complete ass****."

Millholland told Graber he had not reviewed any of the videos related to the incident and couldn't make an assessment until he investigated it further.

As the conversation became tense, Graber said, "I don't think then we even need to meet," and he told Millholland he planned to take legal action. "You're going to have to do what you have to do," Millholland responded.

Graber told Millholland that he wants deputies to be better trained on handling election situations. He said other supervisors have similar concerns and suggested having a meeting with Millholland behind closed doors so the matter doesn't get "blown up."

"However, if that Frederick County Educators Association, that woman that placed that call, comes out and starts running her mouth about it, I'm gonna defend myself, and I'm gonna throw that deputy as far under the bus as I have to," Graber said.

Millholland told The Star that his office and the Frederick County Commonwealth's Attorney's office have investigated the matter and found no wrongdoing by Kennedy. The deputy's body camera footage shows Kennedy telling Graber he was legally allowed to take photos of Williams. Millholland said it was frustrating to take time away from other duties to prove that his deputy didn't do anything wrong.

"It puts me in a bad position because [Graber's] one of the people who is a decision-maker on my budget," Millholland said.

He said Graber's comments about Kennedy were untrue and "almost borderline bullying."

"I think it was just completely and totally uncalled for," Millholland said. "I'd like him to apologize to my deputy and everything else for what he said about him. Because that is a matter of public record. Everybody knows what he said about my deputy."

Commonwealth's Attorney Ross Spicer, who reviewed the bodycam footage, said he believes Kennedy did not act inappropriately and "he most assuredly did not do anything that was against the law."

As for Graber taking photos of Williams, Spicer said, "You certainly can take a photo of someone in public. But just because you can do something doesn't mean that you should. "

Spicer declined to comment on whether any of Graber's actions at the polling location would be considered illegal, saying it would be inappropriate of his office to comment about whether someone engaged in illegal conduct, "short of statements in a courtroom."

When asked on Thursday if he intended to pursue legal action against Kennedy, Graber told The Star, "I have no comment for you in any format because I am pursuing things through the channels at the state."

Millholland pointed out that bodycam footage of Williams' interaction with police shows a red sheet of paper in her hand and that the only white ballot seen on camera was the one Graber pulled out of his pocket.

Graber countered that if people were breaking the law by handing out white paper sample ballots, they wouldn't want the police to see them breaking the law when they showed up. He claimed there were white ballots in three of the four people's hands at the polling location. When the phone call to the police was made, he said those white ballots "suddenly disappeared" into a pickup truck.

Graber told The Star that he was not singling out Williams but recording evidence of all people he claimed were handing out illegal sample ballots. He maintained white sample ballots were being passed out by Democrats at at least four polling locations, including Senseny Road School. He said the photos he took were not just of Williams but of everyone allegedly involved. Graber added that he "pretty consistently" wears a body camera and that he can usually verify or back up what he has to say.

Last week, Frederick County Voter Registrar Rich Venskoske told The Star that Electoral Board Vice Chair Craig Lambert only found white paper sample ballots at one location — the Kernstown 103 precinct, which has a polling location at Orchard View Elementary School. Venskoske said Lambert told the people handing out the white ballots to stop immediately and they did so.

Graber, a Republican, said he wants to investigate whether there was a concerted effort by Democrats to rig or illegally manipulate the election. He said he has photographs that can prove everything he's said regarding illegal ballots, but he declined to provide the evidence.

Graber said he wants to wait until Virginia gets a new attorney general in January before he submits "everything." Current Attorney General Mark Herring is a Democrat. Republican Jason Miyares will soon replace him.

— Contact Josh Janney at jjanney@winchesterstar.com

(49) comments

TheOneAndOnlyNuri

And now Frederick County had made the DC news...

Classy, Shawn.

TheOneAndOnlyNuri

If you are at all concerned about the actions of Mr Graber, please contact your district's supervisor and the chairman at the following link: https://www.fcva.us/departments/board-of-supervisors/board-members-and-contact-info

Some of us have heard whisperings that speakers at the December 8th meeting will be gavelled down at the next meeting. If this is the case, it is more imperative that your voice be heard. You can submit online comments at the following link:

https://fcva.granicusideas.com/meetings/131-board-of-supervisors/agenda_items

Don't let this go unnoticed.

Moonshine1

Interesting choice considering they allowed Joy Dunn to spout her personal opinion of Mr. Stegmaier during the September meeting…

skyhighnet

Politics is such a joke right now. Ban all political parties!!!!

john brown

did someone on the left Democrat accost/assault any women in broad daylight on camera ... this whataboutism is a lie. It's the right that has these fascists creeps.

Eric Fletcher

BOS supervisor Graber should resign immediately. His actions at the polling place and then out right lies to try and cover up his actions are reprehensible. This not someone who should be representing Frederick County in any way. If he doesn’t resign citizens of the back creek district should start a petition to have him recalled.

JonLF

This entire incident should immediately be reported to the Attorney General’s Office by the Sheriff, both of whom are supposed to enforce election laws in Virginia.

The real questions: Was Graber there to vote? Did Graber violate Polling Place laws? How long was Graber there? Was Graber loitering within 40 ft. of the entrance for more than 10 minutes? Was Graber intimidating Ms. Williams and other voters by taking photos? She said his behavior was intimidating and "creepy." I have done professional media photography and photographing people at polling places does intimidate people even by the media, let alone a "creepy look guy." Did Graber have a media pass to take photos? Graber was claiming the sample ballots were illegal? Why didn’t Graber ask Deputy Kennedy to check the alleged illegal sample ballots? Law enforcement is charged to uphold the laws of Virginia, not Supervisor Graber.

Code of Virginia

§ 24.2-604. Polling places; prohibited activities; prohibited area; penalties.

A. During the times the polls are open and ballots are being counted, or within one hour of opening or after closing, it is unlawful for any person (i) to loiter or congregate within 40 feet of any entrance of any polling place; (ii) within such distance to give, tender, or exhibit any ballot, ticket, or other campaign material to any person or to solicit or in any manner attempt to influence any person in casting his vote; (iii) to hinder or delay a qualified voter in entering or leaving a polling place; or (iv) to knowingly possess any firearm as defined in § 18.2-308.2:2 within 40 feet of any building, or part thereof, used as a polling place.

E. This section shall not be construed to prohibit a candidate from entering any polling place on the day of the election to vote, or to visit a polling place for no longer than 10 minutes per polling place per election day, provided that he complies with the restrictions stated in subsections A, C, and D.

§ 24.2-1000. Intimidation of officers of election.

Any person who, by bribery, intimidation, threats, coercion, or other means in violation of the election laws willfully hinders or prevents, or attempts to hinder or prevent, the officers of election at any polling place, voter satellite office, or other location being used by a locality for voting purposes from holding an election is guilty of a Class 5 felony.

§ 24.2-104. Requesting assistance for attorney for the Commonwealth; investigative committees.

A. The Attorney General shall have full authority to do whatever is necessary or appropriate to enforce the election laws or prosecute violations thereof. The Attorney General shall exercise the authority granted by this section to conduct an investigation, prosecute a violation, assure the enforcement of the elections laws, and report the results of the investigation to the State Board.

Catherine Giovannoni

[thumbup]

Cleo

Thank you Sheriff Millholland, Officer Kennedy, and Sgt Smith for your professionalism. Glad for the Bodycameras. Can Graber now use his position on the Board of Supervisors to inflick harm on our Sheriffs Department? Does the BOS control Frederick County's funding for our Sheriffs Department? That's my biggest concern. No meeting should be held in private with BOS Graber or the Sheriffs Dept after listening to his threats unless " You and I can't get this figured out ", demeaning language, includes 2 other BOS members in his complaint with the whole dept., and now wants a closed door meeting to go over their concerns. By the way, 3 makes a Quorum for our BOS.

Catherine Giovannoni

By his own admission, Mr. Graber can no longer be objective about the sheriff's office. He must be recused from any matters, including funding, that involve the sheriff's office.

WinchesterNative

HILARIOUS that there are only 2 people in the ENTIRE COUNTY that think there was nothing wrong that Graber did!!! This is including all of the Facebook posts on the Sheriff's page and also Graber's page. Sparkman and "RightSide"...again...HILARIOUS! Graber...IS...DONE! He won't be able to lie his way out of this one!!! And Graber even said he is considering running for Sheriff in 2023! WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?! Thanks for all you do Sheriff Millholland!

mikep

Geez, and this guy is a PASTOR?

He wears a body cam at all times? Yet has no proof of anything? I'm glad the Sheriff released the audio.

Great job Back Creek district- you are the laughingstock of the entire county.

Marymac

Deputy Sean Kennedy deserves praise and respect for responding professionally and patiently — Billy Joel said it some time ago in song lyrics, “ you can never argue with a crazy man…” Deputy Kennedy did nothing wrong.

Alsochristie

[thumbup]

BillboBaggins

I don’t think Graber understands that picking a fight with Leonard is bad idea but he’s about to find out the hard way.

DavidSparkman

No comment on what Washington was doing wrong. Very biased comments. Total ignorance of Virginia voting regulations. But hey, they are democrats, so they are excused.

TheOneAndOnlyNuri

Washington? Like Shontya'?

TheOneAndOnlyNuri

Wait, what?

"There were quite a few violations of Voter Law on November 2nd on the “Recommended Voter Lists” being passed out. I witnessed them in Neff’s Town and in Clearbrook. Not only was School Board Chairman Shontya Washington ignorant of the law, but Supervisor Judith McCann-Slaughter was also ignorant."

I thought the School Board chairman is Jay Foreman. Oh, did you confuse FCEA president Shaniqua Williams with School Board member and Supervisor-candidate Shontya' Washington? It's ok. I guess you can't tell the difference between them. Wonder why?

RightSide

Frederick County Sheriff Lenny Millholland needs to be replaced when his term expires in 2023. We can do so much better. The people in this county deserve a true sheriff that will do the right things and make sure his deputies do as well. Stopping election violations should be at the top of his list.

TheOneAndOnlyNuri

Why don't you run?

Oh, right...

john brown

It saddens me that this creepy guy graber passes for leadership in Frederick County .... smh.... What happened to you Frederick County?

Doc Samson

@lesLie - Sounds like your motto should be "Make Frederick Co. great again!" when you run for office! [thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] [beam]

dmjc

The police video cleared up a lot for me. Mr. Graber seems to have a difficult time grasping simple concepts. It took the officer 4 tries re-iterating that taking photos was not illegal but perhaps not prudent to continue doing before Mr. Graber may have finally understood (or not).

RightSide

The opinions of a deputy matters zero. He is sworn to uphold only the law.

TheOneAndOnlyNuri

And that's exactly what he did. You back the blue, right?

TheOneAndOnlyNuri

And are we going to let this one slip by? "Graber added that he "pretty consistently" wears a body camera and that he can usually verify or back up what he has to say." Why does he wear a body camera?

When he confronted me at the board meeting just before his election in 2019, he threatened to sue me over a Facebook comment. I directly asked him, "are you recording this conversation?" to which he quickly replied "I don't know, should I record it?". He was as aggressively postured against me as Ms Williams, standing right up on me. I'm not exactly sure what he intended to do at that point, so I just stood and smiled at him.

Come to the meeting on December 8th.

RightSide

You ran for office and were soundly defeated in 2019. FACT. Your progressive, nutty ideas were rejected. FACT.

TheOneAndOnlyNuri

And you are a nameless, faceless coward who will never run and is probably ineligible to run in Frederick County.

Move it along.

TonyR

Supervisor Shawn Graber should be recalled. He was being a public nuisance. He was politely informed by the deputy that while he was not violating the letter of the law that out of respect for the privacy wishes of another person - who was not breaking any laws - should be respected. There was no 'illegal behavior' but Graber with his camera was being obnoxious. Maybe since it is OK to film someone against their wished we should all follow Graber around and film him. Since it is our right - especially since he is an elected official and we need to document that he is not breaking the law. Film at 11:00!!!!!!!

RightSide

Graber is the best. I wish we had more of him on the BOS to fix the mess in this county.

Doc Samson

Recalled for obnoxious, but not illegal, behavior? Wow, and you've been where when this is perpetuated by Pr0g-Leftists? Oh, that's right... [whistling][rolleyes] Always a one way street, ain'tcha, Mr. Twaddle?

TheOneAndOnlyNuri

Oh, sweet, deluded, under-medicated "Doc"...

§ 24.2-233. (Effective until January 1, 2024) Removal of elected and certain appointed officers by courts.

Upon petition, a circuit court may remove from office any elected officer or officer who has been appointed to fill an elective office, residing within the jurisdiction of the court:

1. For neglect of duty, misuse of office, or incompetence in the performance of duties when that neglect of duty, misuse of office, or incompetence in the performance of duties has a material adverse effect upon the conduct of the office;

The petition must be signed by a number of registered voters who reside within the jurisdiction of the officer equal to ten percent of the total number of votes cast at the last election for the office that the officer holds.

Doc Samson

Dear Potato,

I never it couldn't happen, did I? DID I???

My point was... clearly lost on you. But then, neither of us is surprised by that, right?

Mashed potato brain thinking mashed potato thoughts... [lol]

Alsochristie

[thumbup][thumbup]

Catherine Giovannoni

Mr. Graber's creepy actions against women make him unfit for public office. Of course he wants a secret meeting with police where citizens can't comment. The article states, "Graber also said Kennedy's attitude gave him a "sour taste toward the Sheriff's Office" and referred to Kennedy as a "knucklehead" and "a complete ****."" The Republican Party's extremist anti-police views are becoming a real problem, from the cop-killing January 6th insurrection to Mr. Graber's lies and insults. Do the Frederick County Supervisors ever do anything to make life better in Frederick County? No, they're too busy with internal squabbles, bringing their wives to meetings to criticize each others' religions, passing pointless "resolutions" about matters outside their remit, and, now, picking fights with our law enforcement officers. Voters deserve a change.

TheOneAndOnlyNuri

It is concerning that he was elected into this position. I hope the board will consider censuring him now.

RightSide

Typical progressive - try to silence your opponents when you cannot defeat them any other way. Your ideas, after all, always lose.

Doc Samson

Why BryGuy? What did he do wrong?

Doc Samson

So here's what we have: Graber did nothing wrong, the Dem party did.

And yet, the OUTRAGE is against Graber? [lol]

"She said his behavior was intimidating and "creepy." You sure she wasn't referring to a certain... potato head? [lol]

TheOneAndOnlyNuri

Such typical behavior by Graber. The board should take action. For anyone concerned about his conduct, please attend the next Board meeting on December 8 at 7:00 PM at the Frederick County Administrative Building at 107 N. Kent Street. Make Chairman DeHaven know we expect better from our representatives.

Doc Samson

"The board should take action." Really? What did he do wrong again? [yawn]

DavidSparkman

Well I guess he caught an Independent (democrat) cheating. By liberal get out of Jail free doctrine, that is clearly wrong.

TheOneAndOnlyNuri

Really? Who was cheating? Is everything that isn't Republican automatically a Democrat?

RightSide

The conduct of Mr. Garber was right. I applaud his efforts. Hopefully, Chairman DeHaven will reject hearing your nonsense. It has no value. We do not want to hear it.

TheOneAndOnlyNuri

No one cares if you don't want to hear it. Your convenience and comfort are not the issue here. It is the responsibility of the chairman and the county administration as to whether sanctions should be pursued against Mr Graber. It is the responsibility of citizens to petition the court to have him removed.

No matter, you don't live here, you have no say.

Doc Samson

I care! And thus you are proven wrong... again! Good thing you have no shame, otherwise you (and so many of your ilk) would stop posting for our amusement! [lol][lol][lol]

TheOneAndOnlyNuri

Big deal, "Doc". you're an irrelevant troll who hides behind a fake name so you can appear bold. You won't do a dang thing to improve anything, just sit back and whine is your best action. You don't even live here.

Doc Samson

Again, as always, you have ZERO clue. You have not a hint of what I do with my personal time. You also have ZERO clue where I live. And so it shall remain! You think you are a master baiter but... well, you ain't... at least in THAT regard. [lol][lol][lol]

TheOneAndOnlyNuri

It's ok, "Doc" we get it. You're just a worthless coward.

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