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Review scrutinizes 2017 Charlottesville protests, makes recommendations

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - AUGUST 12: Hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" march down East Market Street toward Lee Park during the "Unite the Right" rally August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-fascist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — A 220-page independent review of several of the 2017 protest rallies in Charlottesville that brought thousands to the streets, and ultimately ended in gruesome fatality was released Friday.  Former federal prosecutor Tim Heaphy and his firm Hunton & Williams led the investigation.

Heaphy will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. Friday at City Space to discuss the review.

On Nov.19, the Robert E. Lee statue at Emancipation Park sits covered, with a fence around it.

Heaphy and his team reviewed events surrounding the rallies that took place between May and August, as well as the white nationalist-led tiki torch procession through the University of Virginia campus the night before the last Unite the Right rally which ended in a fatality after thousands of counter protesters clashed with white nationalists in the city streets.

More than half a million documents were collected in the creation of the review, which begins with the May 13 and 14 rallies — assessing that those events “hardened the resolve of both sides to continue their ongoing battle over the statues and broader issues of race and history.”

[Read the document: Independent Charlottesville review]

The review  also determined that on August 12, the City of Charlottesville Police Department and Virginia State Police “failed miserably.”

“In contrast to the July 8 event, the City of Charlottesville protected neither free expression nor public safety on August 12,” the review found.  “The City was unable to protect the right of free expression and facilitate the permit holder’s offensive speech. This represents a failure of one of government’s core functions—the protection of fundamental rights. Law enforcement also failed to maintain order and protect citizens from harm, injury, and death. Charlottesville preserved neither of those principles on August 12, which has led to deep distrust of government within this community.”

The Charlottesville City Council will recieve the findings at its meeting next week. According to city officials, that council meeting will take place earlier than usual, starting at 4 p.m. on Monday. Heaphy will present his findings around 7 p.m., Newsplex reported.

The document can be read in full by clicking here, or downloading from our website, here: Independent Charlottesville review.

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