Virginia police chief retires after criticism over rally

  • Virginia police chief retires after criticism over rally

Virginia police chief retires after criticism over rally

Charlottesville's police chief announced his retirement Monday and put it into effect immediately.

Police Chief Al Thomas says he'll retire today, amid widespread complaints and a report released earler this month slamming him for letting street brawls escalate- and then trying to block an investigation by using personal emails and deleting text messages, allegations he denied.

The 207-page report prepared by Timothy Heaphy, a former US attorney for the Western District of Virginia, concluded that the police department was ill-prepared, lacked proper training, and had a flawed plan for managing the Unite the Right rally that drew hundreds of neo-Nazis and white nationalists to Charlottesville on August 12 and resulted in violent clashes with counterprotesters.

The report indicated that police were poorly trained for handling the protest and failed to implement an effective plan.

The report said police were slow in their response to clashes between white nationalists and demonstrators who opposed their ultranationalist agenda, and appear to have been overwhelmed as violence erupted.

'I will be forever grateful for having had the opportunity to protect and serve a community I love so dearly.

City Manager Maurice Jones will formally appoint an interim police chief within the next week. "It truly has been an unparalleled privilege to work alongside such a dedicated and professional team of public servants".

"It falls woefully short", Don Gathers, a local activist, said at a public comment period about the report, according to The Washington Post. The driver, James Alex Fields, Jr., has been charged with first-degree murder.

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

An interim chief of police will be appointed over the next week as the city begins searching for a new candidate to fill the role.

The United States Air Force veteran has served since May 23, 2016, CBS 6 reported.

Thomas, the former Lexington police chief, took command of the Charlottesville department one and a half years ago.

The report also claims that city and state police were unable to communicate during the protest because they were on different radio channels, according to CBS news.