Police Say Plans Paid Off In Charlottesville

Aug 14, 2018

State and local police held a news conference to congratulate themselves on a fine job in Charlottesville this year. They can’t say how much it cost to put a thousand officers and several helicopters in the city for a largely peaceful weekend, but they’re claiming success.

As they rested on the lawn around a statue of Robert E. Lee, some officers abandoned their gear in the middle of Market Street.

Charlottesville ‘s city manager, police and fire chiefs joined the state’s top cop and officials from the university and county to proclaim victory in their weekend war against violent protest.  They’re not saying what the cost might be, but Virginia’s police superintendent Gary Settle says he had intelligence to support the need for a very large force in the city.

“Certainly we were monitoring intelligence months ago, and right after last year’s event, because there was talk about next year when it comes we're going to do X, Y, and Z, so we had to prepare for the worst," he said. "I will tell you, there is some intelligence that I can't speak about in an open forum that caused us to make certain decisions.”

And Charlottesville’s police chief, RaShall Brakcney defended the decision to ban about forty items that could be used as weapons – things like skateboards and glass bottles – even as guns were allowed on the mall.

“People don’t necessarily buy an axe and use it to chop wood," she explained,  "and when we talk about the guns that could possible be brought onto any of our sites, we don’t control the legislature.”

State lawmakers had refused to give the city power to ban firearms.

A sign outside Miller's pub mocks the city's decision to ban about 40 everyday items, like skateboards, bottles and pop cans, because they could be used as weapons.

Brackney said it might be month before taxpayers get the bill for security on the first anniversary of a violent Unite the Right rally, and she could not say what the city might do next year.

“I would ask that the citizens in the city of Charlottesville think about that,  and then the police response will have to be matched to that.”

While there were no serious incidents, law enforcement leaders took a bow for what one called unprecedented cooperation and a plan executed flawlessly.