‘Unite the Right’ rally costs DC an estimated $2.6M

The number of police escorts for the white nationalists in D.C. far outnumbered the actual white nationalists. (Courtesy Wilson Dizard)

WASHINGTON — The District government says the estimated cost for the police and other city agencies to respond to the white nationalist rally near the White House Sunday is expected to hit nearly $2.6 million.

Almost all of the estimated costs so far — $2.5 million — were spent by D.C. police. The Department of Public Works spent an estimated $40,000; D.C. Fire and EMS spent about $34,000, and the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency spent about $12,000.

The full breakdown of costs, which was provided to WTOP by the mayor’s office, is only a preliminary estimate, officials stressed.

The District plans to seek reimbursement from the federal government from a $13 million fund set aside by Congress.

Only about two dozen people took part in Sunday’s “Unite the Right 2” rally, which came one year after a similar rally in Charlottesville, in which one woman was killed and several dozen injured.

The rallygoers were far outnumbered by the thousands of people also gathered in D.C. to protest the rally,

In contrast to the scenes of violence and chaos seen in Charlottesville last summer, there were no injuries and no major damage reported, D.C. police said.

Ahead of the rally, D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said his top priority was to avoid the violent clashes that broke out in Charlottesville by keeping rallygoers and counterprotesters separated at all times.

But the police tactics also drew criticism over what some saw as special accommodation for rally participants. Rallygoers, who met at the Vienna Metro station in Fairfax County to travel together to downtown D.C., were given access to their own Metro rail car.

Metro Transit Police officials said the group wasn’t given a “special train,” but said officers “reserved” a car to keep the two groups separate.

There were two arrests made the day of the rally, including of a D.C. man who authorities said spit on two Virginia State Police officers outside the Vienna Metro station.

There was also a brief confrontation between a group of D.C. police officers and a group of anti-fascist protesters at 13th and G streets near the White House in which one of the officers used his pepper spray.


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