Dec 1, 2017

Report: Charlottesville police response was a "failure" during protest

Steve Helber / AP

Local law enforcement in Charlottesville, Virginia, was "woefully inadequate" and "didn't have adequate" measures in place to protect people who participated in the white nationalist rally last summer, according to an independent review by a former federal prosecutor released on Friday.

Why it matters: Not only did the violent protest result in the death of one woman (who was there as a counter-protestor), but Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe defended the law enforcement response saying that they had done "great work" in a "very delicate situation."

Key findings of report by Timothy J. Heaphy, a former United States attorney:

  • Charlottesville Police Department officers didn't have adequate protective gears to keep protesters and counter-protesters separate.
  • Several CPD lieutenants said they were uncomfortable directing officers from another agency given the lack of introduction, training and prior preparation.
  • p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #454545} Law enforcement allowed white nationalists and counter-protesters to arm themselves with deadly weapons.
  • "When violence was most prevalent, CPD commanders pulled officers back to a protected area of the park, where they remained for over an hour as people in the large crowd fought on Market Street," the report said.
  • p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #454545} City officials sent conflicting messages about the protest, with some, including the mayor, consistently discouraging attendance. Others said it was important for residents to visibly voice their opposition to the white supremacist groups.
  • Their response to the Friday night torchlight event was woefully inadequate, even for a small campus police department.
  • The University of Virginia police department was "woefully inadequate, even for a small campus police department" during the Friday night rally where white nationalists were wielding torches and chanting "Jews will not replace us."

Key quote: "This represents a failure of one of government's core functionsโ€”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."

Go deeper

Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and U.S. ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 โ€” while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. Meanwhile, Italy reported its first virus-related death on Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,359 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Health

Axios Dashboard

Keep up with breaking news throughout the day โ€” sign up for our alerts.

Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.