City Council to Hear from Tim Heaphy, Public Regarding August 12 Report

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City Council will meet Dec. 4 to discuss Heaphy's report City Council will meet Dec. 4 to discuss Heaphy's report
Heaphy's report was released on Friday, Dec. 1 Heaphy's report was released on Friday, Dec. 1
Tim Heaphy will discuss his report with City Council Tim Heaphy will discuss his report with City Council

Tim Heaphy is set to formally present his findings to Charlottesville City Council on Monday, December 4.

Councilors are also preparing to hear the community's reactions to this scathing review of the city's response to the Ku Klux Klan and other "alt-right" rallies that took place over the summer.

Councilors have been mulling over the report since Heaphy released it on Friday, December 1, and Heaphy will explain it to them in greater detail and analysis on Monday.

They say they look forward to hearing from the community and working to correct issues before any can be repeated.

“We cannot be wringing our hands and gnashing our teeth figuring out who is really at fault,” says City Councilor Kathy Galvin. “We've got a system’s failure, pure and simple.”

At Monday's City Council meeting, Tim Heaphy will formally report to council how matters went wrong on August 12 and the other violent events that occurred over the summer.

City Councilors Bob Fenwick and Kathy Galvin have differing opinions on Heaphy's work.

“I’m disappointed with what has happened because Tim Heaphy has put this city back into a tizzy - we’re upset again - and what this should have done was to give the good and the bad, it gave only the bad,” says Fenwick.

Galvin sees Heaphy’s report in a different light.

“It’s not the time to complain about the tone of the report or the methodology of the report, it did its job so we've gotta fix the system’s failures,” says Galvin. “The report reveals serious breakdowns in communication, coordination, chain of command, and it’s across levels of government and across departments within our local government.”

The independent review reveals the city failed to prepare for the Unite the Right rally, failed to communicate, and failed to protect public safety.

It also puts blame on City Council for interfering with the planning of the rally by trying to have it moved at the last minute. This complicated matter for the police and forced the department to stretch itself thinner to accommodate all the potential locations that protesters could have gathered.

Now, both Fenwick and Galvin agree that it's time to move forward and correct mistakes.

“We have to start looking at what we're gonna do in the future,” says Fenwick.

Galvin agrees that now is the time to work to prevent issues that could crop up at a later date.

“It’s now our job as council to hold our city manager, city manager holds all of his departments accountable, for making sure this does not happen again,” says Galvin.

At Monday's meeting the public will have an opportunity to comment on the report's findings.

“It’ll be energetic, there’s no question whatsoever,” says Fenwick.

One of the recommendations in Heaphy’s report reads, "City Council needs to find ways to solicit community input more effectively and identify specific areas of potential change."

Galvin offers her ideas on the need for public commentary.

“Well, currently today, I don’t think there is a systematic community engagement approach,” says Galvin. “Now we're seeing that this is actually a very important issue with regards to policing, public safety, so, in general, we need to do a much better consistent ongoing job of engaging the community.”

Monday night’s meeting will start at 4 p.m. - earlier than normal - to accommodate the expected lengthy comment period.

Heaphy's report is set to be discussed at 7 p.m., and it's the only topic on council's agenda.

City Manager Maurice Jones is expected to present an action plan based on the findings.

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