CPD Chief Thomas Holds Press Conference, Takes Questions After Saturday's Violence
Charlottesville police Chief Al Thomas is answering some tough questions about all the violence that played out this weekend in Charlottesville.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville police Chief Al Thomas is answering some tough questions about all the violence that played out this weekend in Charlottesville.
Thomas says the alt-right members were those who didn't follow the police security plan. He says the Downtown Mall crossing at 4th Street, should have been closed at the time of the deadly car attack.
Thomas says there was no standing order to not help or intervene as violence began to break out on Saturday. Monday at the presser, he detailed a lot of what happened.
Thomas says they are still receiving reports of assaults and crimes from the rally and counter demonstrations. He also said a hotline has been established so police can hear from people who may have witnessed the violence.
Police took 250 calls for service on Saturday. The chief said the problem with curbing the violence was that people would strike and then disappear into the large crowds.
“Originally we had our officers out in their everyday uniform. We we're hoping for a peaceful event. We urged leaders from both sides to engage in a non violent demonstration. Once the violence erupted, once the plan was altered, we had to quickly transition our officers into their protective gear,” Thomas said.
The chief did not address why the 4th Street Mall crossing was open to traffic when the car attack happened. According to the initial plan, and the release put out to media, that intersection was supposed to stay closed until 7 p.m. Saturday.
Thomas did say the Charlottesville Police Department will ensure any events moving forward will be protected. That may happen here in Charlottesville over the coming days and weeks.
Charlottesville's former top cop is speaking out about the violence from this weekend.
Tim Longo says he's in disbelief and heartbroken, and doesn't think those feelings will go away any time soon.
"I'm concerned as I think a lot of people are, that once again the city, the character of this place, is once again become a national topic, and I think it's going to be a long time before that conversation changes,” Longo said.