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Charlottesville Hires Former U.S. Attorney to Lead Review of City's Response to Rallies

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Tim Heaphy (file image) Tim Heaphy (file image)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

A former U.S. attorney will lead an independent review of Charlottesville's response to three white nationalist rallies this summer, including one earlier this month that ended with deadly violence.

The city announced Friday that Tim Heaphy, former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, will evaluate how the city prepared for and responded to a May torch-light rally, a KKK event in July and the Aug. 12 "Unite the Right" rally.

A statement from the city says Heaphy intends to interview agency representatives, law enforcement and government officials, and members of the community who were present for the events.

"There are a lot of questions swirling around and accusations and strong emotion,” said Heaphy. I think we need to go to fact.  I think we need to gather a thorough account of what happened from multiple sources.  Our first goal is to talk with stake holders, agency officials employees of city government, state, federal, local and talk to participants."

The review will include the city's preparation and response.

He hopes to have results within 90 days.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

City of Charlottesville Press Release

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA - The City of Charlottesville has hired Tim Heaphy, former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, to lead an independent, external review of the City's response to three events during the last three months - the May 13th torch-light rally at Emancipation Park, the July 8th rally of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan at Justice Park and the August 12th Unite the Right rally at Emancipation Park.

Mr. Heaphy is currently a partner with the international law firm of Hunton & Williams LLP.
 
"As our City continues to recover from the rallies that brought great hate into our community, we must take time to reflect on our operational response to these tragic events," said City Manager Maurice Jones. "Mr. Heaphy brings the right mix of legal experience and critical eye to conduct an impartial review of what we as a local government working with our state partners did well and where we can improve."
 
"The recent protests in Charlottesville presented a wide array of challenges to our community.  It is crucial that we gather accurate information and attempt to learn from those difficult events," said Mr. Heaphy. "Our review will be thorough and objective, and will begin immediately.  I look forward to presenting a comprehensive summary of what occurred in and around the protest events, and to formulating practical recommendations for improved future response."

The review will be a fulsome evaluation of the city's preparation for and response to those events and will extend beyond the Charlottesville Police Department. There will be ample opportunity for interested persons to provide feedback and information. Mr. Heaphy intends to interview agency representatives, law enforcement and government officials, and members of the community who were present for these events.
 
A timetable for the completion of Mr. Heaphy's review has not been determined but he and his team will work expeditiously to research the City's operations and finalize their findings. 

Mr. Heaphy served as the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia from 2009-2015, after being appointed by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate.  He is currently chair of the white collar defense and investigations group at Hunton & Williams, LLP.  Mr. Heaphy's bio can be found at this link

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