VA, Charlottesville Squabble Over White Rally Records

The state and the city are conducting separate reviews of the violent Aug. 12 white nationalist rally. Last week, Charlottesville officials complained that the state had denied its investigator access to records. Yesterday, Virginia officials responded in kind, saying the city was not cooperating with state investigators.

Virginia’s top public safety official said Thursday that leaders in Charlottesville are hindering the state’s review of the deadly Aug. 12 white nationalist rally by refusing to provide basic records and make city officials available for interviews, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “Unfortunately we have been denied access repeatedly,” said Brian J. Moran, the state’s secretary of public safety and homeland security, at a meeting of a public safety task force assembled by Gov. Terry McAuliffe in the aftermath of the rally. The complaint comes a week after city officials leveled a similar charge against the state, saying the lawyer they’ve hired to conduct their own local review of the rally response has been denied access to necessary records by state officials.

A Charlottesville spokeswoman, Miriam Dickler, confirmed that the city is declining to provide records to the state. She said the city would change its position if the state provides the records it has requested. While the state deployed more than 600 Virginia State Police personnel and over 100 members of the National Guard to the city, local officials directed, planned and oversaw the overall response to the rally. “The city of Charlottesville has conveyed its willingness to provide the information requested by the governor’s task force, if the commonwealth simply agrees to provide the city with similar information that is crucial to our evaluation,” Dickler wrote in an email. “It is our understanding that they have declined to do so, but we hope they will reconsider and see the mutual benefits of sharing information that will benefit both the city’s and the commonwealth’s evaluations.”