The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Sister of Black man killed by police announces run for Virginia governor

Family members of Marcus-David Peters, including sister Princess Blanding, center right, and others pray after a march for Peters in front of Richmond police headquarters. (Daniel Sangjib Min/Richmond Times-Dispatch/AP)

Princess Blanding, whose brother was killed by Richmond police during a mental health crisis in 2018, announced Tuesday that she is running for governor of Virginia next year.

Blanding, 38, is running under the Liberation Party, a new political party formed after the death of her brother, high school biology teacher Marcus-David Peters.

Peters, who was Black, was fatally shot by Richmond police as he walked naked and unarmed on an interstate highway while having a mental health crisis. The event turned Blanding into an outspoken activist for police overhaul.

“We seek a future in which we dismantle the two-party system that continues to block needed progressive changes,” she said in her announcement video, promising to prioritize clean energy, comprehensive health care for all, gender inclusivity, Black Lives Matter, safe schools and “fixing our broken criminal injustice system.”

In mid-December, she criticized state lawmakers and Gov. Ralph Northam (D) at a ceremonial bill signing for the Marcus Act, named for Peters, which creates teams of mental health service providers and peer recovery specialists to accompany police officers responding to individual crises. She had lobbied for the law but objected that the final version did not go far enough, saying it should have required police to use only nonlethal methods of restraint on people in crisis.

Body-cam video shows Richmond police fatally shooting naked man

She joins a race that on the Democratic side includes former governor Terry McAuliffe, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, Jennifer D. Carroll Foy, who recently left her delegate seat to campaign full time, and state Sen. Jennifer L. McClellan (Richmond).

Two Republicans have declared in the race: former speaker of the House Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) and state Sen. Amanda Chase (Chesterfield).