Police Failed on Many Fronts at Charlottesville Rally, Review Finds

White nationalists clash with police as they are forced out of Emancipation Park after the

White nationalists clash with police as they are forced out of Emancipation Park after the"Unite the Right rally Aug. 12 in Charlottesville Va

Charlottesville hired Hunton & Williams afterwards to conduct an independent review of the "Unite the Right" rally and two previous protests, and its team interviewed about 150 people and reviewed about a half-million documents before publishing its findings in the 220-page report released Friday, said Tim Heaphy, a parter at the firm and a former attorney for the US government who faulted authorities for three failures in particular during an hourslong press conference.

Heathy also criticized the lack of specialized training Charlottesville police received prior to the protests, and a failure of communication between the various law enforcement agencies tasked with policing the event.

Heaphy said Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas took a "misguidedly passive" approach to quelling the violence that erupted on Charlottesville streets both before and after police declared the "United the Right" rally at Emancipation Park unlawful and ordered the crowds dispersed.

The independent report found the city's failure to protect free expression and public safety "represents a failure of one of the government's core functions - the protection of fundamental rights".

"Early on August 12, CPD [Charlottesville Police] had placed a school resource officer alone at the intersection of 4th Street NE and Market Street", the report states. But when the officer told commanders she feared for her safety, she was removed from the post and not replaced.

"A single wooden saw horse was all that impeded traffic down 4th Street as large groups of people continued to roam the streets", the report stated. Earlier in the day, an officer was stationed at an intersection near the spot where James Fields drove his vehicle into a crowd, killing Heyer, the report says.

Officers with both the Charlottesville Police Department and Virginia State Police were generally directed to remain behind barricades rather than risk injury responding to physical altercations between protesters and counterprotesters, in part because officers were inadequately equipped, the report found.


"Let them fight for a little".

The report emphasized that the failures weren't due to a lack of police willpower - many officers apparently feeling frustrated by their agency's response to the protests. "We let the community down", police told him.

Thousands of people descended on the city of Charlottesville last summer, and the event turning violent.

Charlottesville City Manager Maruice Jones responded to the report in a statement.

Heaphy wrote that the "disastrous results" of poor planning by law enforcement have "led to deep distrust of government within this community".

"In our interviews with CPD personnel, we learned that Chief Thomas and other CPD command staff deleted text messages that were relevant to our review", the report said.

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