Charlottesville Police Plan Shows Holes in Preparation for Unite the Right Rally
NBC29 has obtained a copy of the Charlottesville Police Department’s plan to deal with last August's Unite the Right rally. Police and City Hall refused to release the plan for months following the violent and deadly day.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - NBC29 has obtained a copy of the Charlottesville Police Department’s plan to deal with last August's Unite the Right rally.
Police and City Hall refused to release the plan for months following the violent and deadly day.
One source says this plan was flawed since the beginning in that it had a narrow focus on only what was happening inside the park and not with what unfolded around it.
The 48-page report outlining Charlottesville police’s operational plan for August 12 is now heavily redacted, but there’s still plenty of important information coming to light.
According to the document, both demonstrators and counterdemonstrators were supposed to be in barricaded pens located within Emancipation Park.
That's not what happened. White supremacists took over the entire park, leaving counterdemonstrators pushed out to face them on East Market Street.
The plan also focused exclusively on fortifying the city park itself, leaving no official written statement to station personnel in the downtown parking garages where opposing groups would clash later that day.
The plan’s mission called for the arrest of "problem offenders" as needed, and barred chemical agents from being used on nonviolent protesters. A long list of potential laws that could likely be broken during the rally was included so that officers could more easily and quickly make arrests. But, in actuality, only a handful of arrests were made that violent day.
However, a source familiar with the plan says it was not distributed to all officers assigned to the event that day - only zone commanders had the plan.
All but the entire traffic control portion of the plan was redacted, but it did note eight posts and a blacked-out list of barricades used. One of those was located along Market Street at the 4th Street crossing, which is the site of the car attack that killed Heather Heyer that day.
Charlottesville City Councilor Kathy Galvin says the report release is important for the community to review, for questions to be asked, and to learn from mistakes.
"When you are transparent, when you let the sun shine in, that gives you the opportunity to learn and also then gives you the opportunity to be accountable to your public,” says Galvin.
Police aren't answering NBC29’s questions about plan issues.