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Charlottesville Police Chief Addresses Divide in City at NAACP Meeting

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Chief Al Thomas speaking at NAACP meeting in Charlottesville Chief Al Thomas speaking at NAACP meeting in Charlottesville
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Charlottesville's Chief of Police, Al Thomas, is speaking out about the events of the last few weeks in the city centering on race and white supremacy.

The chief spoke to packed room at a meeting of the NAACP Monday evening.

He said he will not engage in the "hate" in our community right now, and doesn't want the city to devolve into an "us versus them" conflict.

Thomas spent his prepared remarks focusing on the conflict of the last few weeks, especially following the rallies in the former Lee Park.

He said he would not take a side on these issues in his official capacity, but did speak about the need for a broad range of diversity in the city, not limited to, "black and white."

“Right now the most prevalent issue I believe is this divide between groups in town, it's caused a lot of tension in the community and I think it's time we come together as a community and work through some of these issues,” Thomas said.

The chief also told the group that things aren't as bad as the news media in town is making it seem. It's blowing the entire conflict out of proportion and “sensationalizing” the events of the last few weeks.

He also spoke about the police department's preparedness for the Ku Klux Klan rally next month. Charlottesville Police Department may accept extra help from other departments.

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