Since the August 12 Unite the Right rally that left three people dead, Charlottesville residents have asked where the police were that day and why Fourth Street was open so that a neo-Nazi from Ohio could plow into a group of counterprotesters, injuring dozens and killing Heather Heyer. The release of former U.S. attorney Tim Heaphy’s 207-page report today offered some answers, with the use of the word “failure” 44 times.
Police were stationed behind barricades and while they were not given “stand down” instructions, says Heaphy, they were told to intervene only in instances of serious violence.
The report confirmed word that had been going around since August 12: A school resource officer was stationed alone at the intersection of Fourth Street NE and Market Street. When an unlawful assembly was declared and protesters flooded from emancipation Park into Market Street to clash with counterprotesters, the officer feared for her safety and was relieved of her post—leaving only a wooden sawhorse to block Fourth Street.