Overly Redacted: three years later, explanation for A12 stand down still at a standstill
|Jul 27, 2020|
What was the Virginia State Police plan for handling the August 12, 2017 Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville three years ago? We still don't really know. And the VSP hasn't been keen on letting the public know. But a Charlottesville judge has given counsel for the VSP until Thursday to respond to his ruling that portions of that plan already released were overly redacted, reports Tyler Hammel.
Three years ago, local reporters reporters Natalie Jacobsen and Jackson Landers sued the city of Charlottesville, state police and Virginia’s Office of the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security for access to the planning documents, but what was finally released was heavily redacted. Counsel for the VSP has argued that the documents contain "tactical plans" that could jeopardize future police operations of a similar nature if made public. Indeed, Judge Moore acknowledged that argument in his ruling, saying that if armed white supremacist groups like the ones we saw on August 12 should return, it could be dangerous to release tactical information. But he also observed that "...there clearly are some portions, parts, items, or information redacted from the report that appear to the Court not to be tactical plans or that at least would not jeopardize the safety or security of law enforcement or the public." However, given how hard the VSP has tried to conceal those portions of the plan, it's likely they will appeal Moore's ruling.
Meanwhile, the VSP just made national news recently with the release of a 2019 video that appears to show a Virginia state trooper assaulting a 28-year old Black male driver during a traffic stop on I-495. The trooper can be heard telling the driver, "You're going to get your a-- whooped," before forcefully removing him from his car. In a strange twist, the 38-year old trooper, according to the attorney representing the driver, later explained to the driver that the stop "had nothing to do with race" and said that his wife was Black and he was not a racist. VSP leadership has called the trooper's actions "not in agreement with the established standards of conduct" and placed him on administrative leave until an investigation is complete.