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Task Force Says Some Officers on Aug. 12. Did Not Know How to Handle Situation

Posted: Updated: Nov 29, 2017 04:50 PM
The Unite the Right rally at Emancipation Park (FILE IMAGE) The Unite the Right rally at Emancipation Park (FILE IMAGE)
RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) -

New information is coming out of Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s Civil Unrest Task Force which is looking into how Charlottesville prepared for the now infamous Unite the Right rally on Aug. 12.

The group met again in Richmond Wednesday afternoon, and said there were a handful of things the city could have done differently.

Jim Baker is with the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He says some of the front line officers did not understand how to handle the situation. Baker also told the group one of the police command posts was not functional, and technical problems prevented officers and units from communicating with each other.

"You don't plan on August 11, you plan weeks if not months in advance," Secretary Brian Moran of Public Safety and Homeland Security said. "Plastic, yellow tape is not a sufficient barrier any longer.  We must now anticipate a variety of attacks such as a vehicle for instance. So, I think going forward that is one of the lessons we'll learn from Charlottesville."

Moran also recommends a more robust permitting process "that addresses weapons, duration, location. Emancipation Park was not a good location for this size or type of demonstration."

The violence and aftermath of the rally left dozens hurt and one woman dead.

City police will not comment because of the independent review underway by Tim Heaphy, and a pending lawsuit. The city says Heaphy's review will be done ahead of the City Council meeting on December 4 and provided to the public. The after-action review will go to the governor by December 1.     

Here's a statement from the city of Charlottesville:      

We look forward to reviewing the state report.  It is disappointing that, from what we have heard to date, the report lays fault on one organization rather than comprehensively considering the roles played by each participating agency.  The City’s independent, in-depth review, conducted by Timothy Heaphy and his colleagues, has been extremely comprehensive, including over 100 interviews with a wide range of stakeholders, the review of hundreds of thousands of documents and images, and the solicitation of public comment.  It is expected to be completed in advance of the December 4, 2017 City Council meeting and will be provided to the public.

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