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Review faults police response to Charlottesville far-right rally

Review faults police response to Charlottesville far-right rally
From Reuters - December 1, 2017

(Reuters) - Authorities in Charlottesville failed to protect both public safety and free speech during a white nationalist rally over Confederate statues that turned deadly in the Virginia college town in August, an independent review said on Friday.

The violence between counter-protesters and the white nationalists, who were outraged by the citys plan to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, marked an eruption in tensions over the symbols of the Civil Wars losing side.

A 32-year-old woman was killed when a car plowed into a group of counter-demonstrators.

Fridays three-month review by a former U.S. attorney, Timothy Heaphy, faulted law enforcement agencies for breakdowns in planning and coordination as well as a timid response, that led to disastrous results.

The city was unable to protect the right of free expression and facilitate the permit holders offensive speech, said Heaphys report, commissioned by Charlottesville officials amid criticism of the response to the Aug. 12 Unite the Right rally.

This represents a failure of one of the governments core functionsthe protection of fundamental rights, the report said. Law enforcement also failed to maintain order and protect citizens from harm, injury, and death.

Charlottesville spokeswoman Miriam Dickler said the city did not have an immediate response. Charlottesville police and the Virginia State Police declined immediate comment.

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