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City Council Meeting Gets Heated as Anniversary of Aug. 12 Approaches

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

It was a war of words inside City Council Chambers on Monday, August 6, as the crowd and councilors argued over how the interim city manager was chosen.

This comes as many people are raising concerns about striking a balance between safety and being over-policed over this coming weekend of August 11 and 12.

With just days until the anniversary of the Unite the Right rally, many are still wary of council's decision on interim city manager Mike Murphy while others are looking ahead to what that day will look like compared to last year.

A fiery back-and-forth over how council chose Murphy as the interim city manager and why candidate Sidney Zemp turned down the position.

Mayor Nikuyah Walker said she wanted the public to be able to see Zemp's cover letter and resume, but that did not happen.

“There are people within this community who say I was trying to sway your opinions,” says Walker. “That's not how I work. I want you to have the information and make a decision on your own.”

Walker posted a text message exchange between her and Zemp on Facebook in which she asked him if she could release his resume to the public, but he expressed opposition to it until after a contract was signed.

“We did not know about the text that he had sent you, where he said I would consent for the public to see my resume if council directs it, you didn't tell us that,” says Councilor Mike Signer.

Some people in the crowd expressed support of Walker’s action of posting about Zemp on Facebook two weeks ago, and are pointing to her run for office when she built her campaign on a promise for transparency.

“She promised you - she told you right up front to expect transparency, to expect that she was going to deliver to the citizens exactly what we were asking her for,” says Don Gathers, a community activist.

Besides the disagreement over the interim city manager, some members of the public are concerned about the city being "over-policed" during the anniversary of August 11 and 12.

“Right now, we are in a hostage situation,” says Gathers. “It's like there's a curfew being implemented at high noon, and no one is supposed to be on the streets past that time.”

However, Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney says we simply cannot afford to make the same mistakes that were made last year.

"The officers - and I believe every law enforcement professional is dedicated to getting it right this time,” says Brackney. “We don't have the opportunity to get it wrong two years in a row.”

If you need more resources, you can check out Resilient Cville's website.

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