December 2, 2017
The report states that Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas ordered his officers not to do their job in order to justify the emergency declaration to shut down the Unite the Right rally.
An independent review analyzing the government’s handling of the Unite the Right rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia this past August has finally been released. The 200+ page report covers the government’s handling of not just the Unite the Right rally, but other protests that occurred in the city throughout the year.
The report 100 percent confirms what many of us on the ground have said from the start. It places blame squarely on police for not separating the two opposing sides. It also confirms our accounts of how the police purposefully forced our people towards the anti-fascist mobs when they cleared the park. This action further exacerbated the violence.
The report places Charlottesville’s Police Chief Al Thomas at the center of all the problems. Thomas specifically said to “let them fight” so they could have justification to declare an unlawful assembly. Two people associated with the Charlottesville police including a police captain and the personal assistant to Thomas confirmed he said this. Here’s the quote from the report itself.
Chief Thomas’s response to the increasing violence on Market Street was disappointingly passive. Captain Lewis and Chief Thomas’ personal assistant Emily Lantz both told us that upon the first signs of open violence on Market Street, Chief Thomas said “let them fight, it will make it easier to declare an unlawful assembly.”
While the report doesn’t specifically state that there was an official stand down order, the actions from Thomas and the police were effectively the same thing. How else can you interpret the head of a police department telling his officers to let people fight in the streets? We all saw the police standing around while all the chaos erupted. He ordered them not to do their jobs.
The report also highlights numerous failures by the police and criticizes the Charlottesville City Council for creating unnecessary confusion in the days leading up to the event. Here are some of the more notable items mentioned in the report.
The Charlottesville Police Department Did Not Seek Input From Law Enforcement Personnel Experienced In Handling Similar Events.
The Charlottesville Police Department Did Not Provide Adequate Training or Information to Officers In Advance of the Event.
The City of Charlottesville Waited Too Long to Request the Specialized Assistance of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.
The Charlottesville City Council Unduly Interfered With Operational Planning By Directing That the Event Be Moved to McIntire Park Just Days In Advance.
The City of Charlottesville Did Not Provide Adequate Information to The Public About Plans For the Event.
The Charlottesville Police Department Implemented a Flawed Operational Plan That Failed to Protect Public Safety On August 12.
Law Enforcement Did Not Adequately Ensure Separation Between Alt-Right Protesters and Organized CounterProtesters.
Law Enforcement Failed to Intervene in Violent Disorders and Did Not Respond to Requests for Assistance.
Areas Where Conflict Predictably Occurred Were Not Occupied by Officers.
CPD Commanders Failed to Deploy Available Law Enforcement Resources to Quell Violence.
Upon the Declaration of an Unlawful Assembly, Protesters Were Pushed Directly Toward CounterProtesters Without Separation.
The Traffic Plan Placed Insufficient Resources at Particular Intersections and Left the Downtown Mall Vulnerable to a Vehicle Used as a Weapon.
The Charlottesville Police Department and Virginia State Police Failed to Operate Under a Unified Command, Resulting In Delayed And Ineffective Responses To Critical Events.
The report even cites how police refused to adequately cooperate with the independent review. It says that Thomas deleted relevant text messages and used a personal email account for official purposes. It also states that the Virginia State Police refused to make their on the ground commanders available for interviews. The report was specifically critical of the Virginia State Police for not cooperating with them.
In other words, there was an attempt by the police to cover up information. There’s probably lots that we don’t know about pertaining to the role of the Virginia State Police in this fiasco. Same can be said for the Charlottesville City Council. It is reasonable to believe that the council directed Thomas to do much of what he ultimately ended up doing.
At minimum, the Charlottesville Police Chief Thomas should be immediately fired from his job. In fact, one could argue that he was criminally negligent for much of what happened. He put the safety of everyone there at risk. Even if was ordered by the council to stand down, he was under no obligation to follow such an order.
The report provides ample amounts of evidence to justify any number of lawsuits. Everyone who attended the Unite the Right rally had their civil rights violated. The police criminally conspired to shut down a lawful assembly and they did this by willfully endangering the public.
Ultimately, a federal investigation should be conducted to further review what happened. This report however, is a good start in exposing the vast criminal conspiracy that took place in Charlottesville.