Emails obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request show that UVA police were made aware of the impending threat of far-right groups, but downplayed the potential for violence, even turning down offers of assistance from other departments.
Shadowproof has obtained all emails sent from the University of Virginia’s (UVA) police chief during the “Unite the Right” rally under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
The emails are dated August 11 and 12, and reveal UVA police chief Michael Gibson’s internal handling of the march that resulted in the death of counterprotester Heather Heyer.
One email shows Gibson declining an offer by nearby George Mason University’s chief of police, Carl Rowan, Jr., to send additional officers for assistance.
Gibson also sent two separate emails containing links to It’s Going Down, a self-described anti-fascist website; one to the Charlotteseville police chief, Al Thomas, and another to top UVA officials including the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Patrick D. Hogan.
None of the emails released to Shadowproof include links to far-right or White Supremacist organizations.
In another email, UVA’s Student Council Vice President for Administration, Alex Cintron, tells Gibson, “Many students are alarmed and I was wondering if there is any safety information I can distribute to other student leaders and the student body at large?”
Gibson declined the request for safety information, telling Cintron, “UPD is aware of this information and is monitoring the situation very closely.”
Read all 13 pages of the UVA Police Department emails below:
Top photo | State Police in riot gear guard Lee Park after a white nationalist demonstration was declared illegal and the park was cleared in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12, 2017. (AP/Steve Helber)
Published in partnership with Shadowproof.