*This is a developing story.
Governor Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency in Charlottesville ahead of the one year anniversary of Unite the Right. The white supremacist rally held on August 12 last year left one person dead and another 30 wounded when James Field Jr drove his car into a group of counter-protestors. The announcement released earlier this afternoon stated, “These state of emergency declarations will enhance planning and cooperative response efforts that have been in development since March.” According to the statement, the declaration allows various state agencies to perform “actions outside of the scope of normal operations” as a way to make sure resources are available to both local government and residents.
According to CBS 6, the Virginia State Police Superintendent has said that 700 state police will be activated in and around Charlottesville to prevent any incidents over the course of the weekend.
Last August, the city of Charlottesville and the Charlottesville Police Department took a hands-off approach to the event, which ended in street brawls, confrontations, and the eventual vehicular attack against counter-protestors. Charlottesville Police Chief Alfred Thomas resigned last December shortly after the release of a highly critical report that listed serious planning failures.The consultant hired to evaluate planning for the event, former U.S. Attorney Tim Heaphy, found that the city failed to both coordinate and communicate proper instructions in advance of the rally.
The man behind the attack, James Fields, Jr. of Ohio, has been indicted on 30 charges including federal hate crimes, and is awaiting a November trial. Several memorial events have been planned this weekend in Charlottesville. Jason Kessler, the man who organized Unite the Right last August, will be holding another rally in Washington, DC on Sunday. The National Park Service released a list of speakers who will headline the event which included, neo-Nazi Patrick Little, KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, Simon Roche, Kevin Cormier, Avialae Horton, and Corey Mahler.
A map of the security planning for this weekend has been released by Solidarity Cville in a tweet just two hours ago.
They also released a list of instructions indicating what is allowed and isn’t on the downtown mall over the course of the weekend.