Virginia authorities say they are investigating an assault of a Charlottesville police officer who was knocked down during a demonstration related to a deadly 2017 far-right rally.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Investigations are underway into assaults against three officers in Charlottesville during the weekend events marking the anniversary of a violent white nationalist rally, police said Monday.
Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney gave that update at a news conference Monday afternoon, joined by leaders from other agencies involved in the immense law enforcement response. The one-year anniversary saw worship services, vigils and protests that were largely peaceful but tense at times.
Eight arrests were made in Charlottesville over the weekend, including one person who was arrested twice, Brackney said.
Police previously said one officer was assaulted after approaching a man whose face was covered, and Brackney added Monday that two other officers were punched by a woman who was then pulled away by her friends. No suspects were in custody.
Law enforcement officials faced blistering criticism in the wake of last year’s rally for what was widely received as an overly passive response to the violence that unfolded.
Fighting broke out in the streets between rally participants and counterprotesters. Authorities eventually forced the crowd to disperse, but chaos erupted again when a car barreled into a crowd of counterprotesters that day, killing a woman and injuring dozens of other people.
Officials at Monday’s news conference defended the handling of this year’s events, which many activists criticized as over-policing.
City spokesman Brian Wheeler said that in response to last year’s events “it would have been irresponsible for this community not to have been prepared for a worst-case scenario.”
Brackney said she couldn’t give an exact number of personnel on the ground over the weekend, giving a ballpark figure of about 1,000. She also said she couldn’t immediately provide the total cost of the operations.