PETITION TO THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL
TO INVESTIGATE WHETHER PUBLIC OFFICIALS
IN VIRGINIA ACTED NEGLIGENTLY IN THE
EVENTS OF AUGUST 12 IN CHARLOTTESVILLE
To the Honorable Jeff Sessions, Attorney General of the United States:
Whereas, three people died, including two police officers in a tragic helicopter crash, and others injured on August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia during well-publicized clashes between Protestors and Counter-protesters; and
Whereas, Protestors secured a permit for their demonstration at Emancipation Park to begin at noon on August 12, and Counter-protestors secured a permit for demonstrations at two nearby and geographically flanking city parks, McGuffey and Justice Parks, for that same day to begin at 9 a.m.; and
Whereas, as reported on August 13 by Charlottesville's The Cavalier Daily, "[L]aw enforcement officials declared the rally an unlawful assembly after sporadic fighting and numerous chemical irritants were used on the crowd, although it was unclear whether they were coming from 'alt-right rally-goers or counter-protesters;'" and
Whereas, an August 13 report by The New York Times about the August 12 events reads in relevant part, "'There was no police presence,' Ms. Caine-Conley said. 'We were watching people punch each other; people were bleeding all the while police were inside of barricades at the park, watching;'" and
Whereas, although it is still not clear from the many news accounts whether the Protestors or Counter-protestors first initiated the mayhem and violence on August 12, it is clear from many reports that the police and public safety officers did not keep the two groups adequately separated and did not use other adequate public safety protocols, which seemed to have resulted in an escalation of mayhem and violence that eventually flowed over into the streets of Charlottesville after the declaration of unlawful assembly, where one civilian was killed and many injured when a car driven by one Protestor plowed into them; and
Whereas, on August 12 Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe issued a Statement on Emergency Declaration in Response to Violence in Charlottesville, which read in relevant part: "In the days and weeks leading up to this event, my Administration engaged in extensive planning and preparation to ensure that the rally in Charlottesville could be held in a safe and lawful environment." (Emphasis added); and
Whereas, in a statement issued on August 14, the executive director of ACLU of Virginia stated, "In fact, law enforcement was standing passively by, seeming to be waiting for violence to take place, so that they would have grounds to declare an emergency, declare an 'unlawful assembly' and clear the area;" and
Whereas, despite the indicators of potential violence known in advance by Virginia public officials there nevertheless was a lack of basic protocols and action by public safety officials to intervene and prevent the escalation of mayhem and violence; and
Whereas, there seems to be no publicly available explanation about why the entire police presence initially acted passively, what plans and orders were conveyed to them, and by whom, and that it would be appropriate if not necessary for objective officials to investigate these matters.
Now, therefore, in light of these facts and premises, we hereby petition you the United States Attorney General to order a Department of Justice investigation into whether the plans and orders by Virginia public officials were negligent, led to a "state-created danger," and/or in any ways contributed to or were legally responsible, directly or indirectly, for the injuries and deaths on that tragic day, August 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia.