, 73 tweets, 9 min read Read on Twitter
wonder why the charlottesville’s briefing for “residents and businesses in north downtown” related to “regional preparations for the aug 10-12 weekend” isn’t on the city’s calendar?
will the messaging be different for this audience vs the community-wide meetings? let’s find out!
it remains completely incomprehensible to me that thousands of strangers, the equivalent of 1/6 of the population of this city, are even moderately interested in livetweets of my local government proceedings.
crowd here at city space is very old and very white. i don’t see any of the community activists i would normally see at an event like this. which was obviously the intent behind not publicizing the event outside the neighborhood association/downtown businesses.
panel is: police chief brackney, assistant city manager mike murphy, fire chief andrew baxter, albemarle county police (greg jenkins), va state police 1st sgt chris clark, uva asst vp of safety & security gloria graham, and allison farole (regional emergency mgmt coordinator)
communications direction brian wheeler MC’ing again. wheeler says we’re here to “make sure you’re ready to make some informed choices” about the weekend of august 12th
chief brackney alluding to jason dropping his request for an injunction in his permit lawsuit: “people are asking, why are we not changing our plans? we are staying the course.”
“we have to be prepared for anyone who may want to come and disrupt and make a national statement at the expense of charlottesville.”
she’s careful not to say who she thinks might be “making a statement.”
“the goal is to balance your access and your convenience with your safety and security.”
chief brackney says she’s trying to walk the line of “overmilitarizing” or “a police state.”
chief brackney: “we will police your behaviors. not your ideologies.”
“wherever you are on any side of any issue, that is not how we will engage you.”
deputy chief craig jenkins of albemarle county PD: staffing levels will be increased that weekend to ensure “we can respond to any situation that may jeopardize our citizens.”
officers have been given civil disturbance & constitutional law training.
VSP area commander overseeing this region: “state police have been an active participant in planning this since last august the 12th.”
state police rep: “i cannot describe to you the level of cooperation that we’ve had.”
“it has been awesome participating in this. unfortunately we have to participate in this.”
va state police: “we will be very engaging when we see stuff.”
“we will be making arrests when we see violations of the law.”
“you’re going to see a lot of troopers.”
“this is where i take my family out to dinner. i don’t want this anymore than you guys do. i want this to be the last year we have to plan for this” the crowd applauds.
he says we have to remember heather heyer, berke bates, and jay cullen.
(bates and cullen are the two virginia state troopers who were killed when their helicopter crashed on august 12, 2017)
uva asst vp of safety & security graham said something a bit cryptic about their ability to “pick people up and move them” to respond to incidents, but mostly the same speech as last time about how she’s new but totally prepared
fire chief baxter is the last panelist to speak. this is smart. he has a very calm, wise demeanor. he is repeating the same bit about preparing for worst case scenarios, emphasizing that’s what they do every day, but calling this “a unique risk.”
“preparing for a civil disturbance is part of our community now.”
yes, unfortunately very true.
baxter: “whether something happens or nothing happens,” fire & EMS need to be prepared to offer services to the community.
they are coordinating with hospitals throughout the region. he doesn’t say it, but surely they’re preparing for a mass casualty incident.
now onto Q&A. a man asks if there’s a plan for nazis showing up some OTHER weekend — will they be prepared?
baxter now talking about preparations for “early onset of violence.”
VSP rep says his troopers will be “ready to roll” as soon as they get here that week. this doesn’t really answer the man’s question about OTHER weekends.
the next question: “will the farmers market be open that weekend?”
so fucking cville.
asst city manager mike murphy says decisions about this, park closures, bus route changes, etc are coming next week.
chief brackney answering a man’s question about whether or not he should go out to dinner downtown on saturday august 11: “i don’t give out advice. what i do is give you enough information to make your own decision”
the man who wants to have a regular cville saturday of buying veggies at the farmers market followed by a dinner out downtown is very upset that the police chief can’t promise him that restaurants will be open.
next question: she first expresses her gratitude & says she feels “really well taken care of” by this process but is concerned about the days after that weekend, that the police will be tired from the long shifts over the weekend & won’t be ready for violence later on.
chief brackney says people who “want to disrupt” will seek “high value” opportunities, like the weekend of august 10-12. violence could happen anytime, but is most likely during this “high value” weekend.
a woman asks “do you want me to call 911 if i see... is that what you want me to do?”
chief brackney says yes, call 911 if you see people in the park lighting tiki torches.
welcome to charlottesville in 2018.
“if you don’t think that someone is countersurveilling all the things that we are doing... they are.”
chief brackney, what does this mean?
“if you see something that’s kinda weird and you want the police to know about it...” the state police rep is recommending an app called “see something, say something.”
high tech snitching.
brian wheeler says there will be a non-emergency information line staffed by volunteers that weekend for questions & concerns below the threshold for 911.
fire chief baxter says there is no singular incident commander - it’s a unified command. he gives a hypothetical example: “if there’s a three alarm fire and people fighting in front of it, it’s a joint decision, but mostly mine” (he motions at chief brackney)
many downtown residents who live inside the street closures are concerned about their ability to leave home that weekend. brackney emphasizes there will be no non-emergency vehicle traffic in that zone. they should consider parking outside the zone.
brackney also says keeping cars out of the downtown area helps them “sanitize” the area. she alludes to the possibility of “things” being planted downtown ahead of that weekend. (she means bombs. she’s talking about bombs.)
“so we either take our vehicles out of the area before friday or we leave town?”
downtown residents who only have street parking are very concerned about the restrictions, but it sounds like many of the folks here misread the maps and won’t actually be affected.
a community member who works at the haven, a nonprofit that serves the houseless downtown, says they will be open and serving the community regardless. she is concerned how the heavy police presence will impact their clients.
the police chief just called the unhoused folks downtown “residentially challenged.”
“we are not searching individuals.” the police chief is addressing rumors that people and cars will be searched, but says “that’s not what we’re going to do.”
“you can let your clients know, we’re not searching anyone.”
the state police rep says troopers will be briefed about the haven & the community they serve.
a community member asks what equipment they will be using to block streets this year. chief brackney is evasive, says it depends on the location. she offers examples like: police car, public works truck, cement barriers, water filled barriers, etc.
he presses, asking if they have a plan for replacing barriers if they need to be moved. this isn’t hypothetical. this could’ve prevented heather heyer’s murder.
he also asks if they have contingency plans to expand the perimeter in the event that becomes necessary. she’s getting defensive. she says they do have the ability to be “flexible and nimble” to respond to needs and “flare-up events”
she lost her cool a little with this questioner. she very clearly doesn’t appreciate sincere, probing questions specifically related to the city’s failures last year.
“i cannot afford to litigate last year. i have to mitigate it.” chief brackney is nearly yelling at another questioner who is asking about a specific failure last year.
a woman is horrified to learn that an individual officer on the ground can make the decision to close a street in an emergency. has she never witnessed a car accident?
brackney is apparently only able to handle about an hour of public engagement before reaching critical meltdown conditions.
brackney says “so, we have no authority to search people’s bags.”
the question asker appears to WANT mass searches of people coming downtown.
“we’re not restricting pedestrians moving about.”
brackney on why they can’t search every pedestrian:.
“unfortunately... FORTUNATELY, that’s what the constitution says.”
close save, girl.
brackney: “we haven’t posted a single pedestrian restriction yet.”
one white woman in the audience tries to answer another white woman’s question about whether or not she can carry prohibited items, “i think as long as you aren’t acting suspiciously, you’ll be fine.”
translation: be white.
brackney: “we will have a strong presence, making ourselves known around those people.”
VSP: “our plan is to be very engaging with these people.”
re: a man’s intense fear about militias.
“the juxtaposition between what you are saying tonight and what happened last year is unbelievable.”
a woman who works at the haven & witnessed the violence last year is skeptical that the police will be able to respond appropriately.
the VSP rep says the one thing he asks is that we trust him. that they only had a month to plan last year & they can’t go back and change it. the albemarle county PD rep assures her that different people are in charge this year.
chief brackney: “you have to imagine our commitment!”
“we all had lives. we didn’t have to be here. we felt compelled” to change the narrative in charlottesville.
applause from the audience.
goddamnit kathy galvin shut up.
city councilor kathy galvin is talking about what a success the militia lawsuit was
(it wasn’t)
“i don’t think there’s gonna be much that’s low key” says brian wheeler in response to a man’s comment that the optics of the police were not good last year and they should consider something more low key.
oh god bless. chief brackney is talking big talk about their intelligence gathering ability. how they are monitoring social media. the example that she gives is that jason kessler was trending on twitter the other day.
“charlottesville is a high value target for kessler.”
the fact that she’s worried about JASON KESSLER above all else tells me she doesn’t know shit.
brian wheeler adds that they do take the intelligence they get from the community seriously. noticeably, no agreement from the panel when he says this.
a woman asks “is there a way to sign up for texts to keep people up to date in the moment?”
farole recommends that everyone sign up for “code red,” an emergency messaging system.
a woman is now asking if there is a reason they didn’t close water street, too, considering that’s the site of last year’s attack.
she also asks if cars parked in the restricted area will be towed. the answer is yes. the map of the currently announced closures are here:
brackney says she closed as many streets as she felt she constitutionally could. water street will have “layers of protection” for “quick response” but doesn’t clearly articulate why it won’t be closed.
brian wheeler clarifies that there ARE NO CURRENTLY APPROVED PERMITS downtown that weekend.
assistant city manager mike murphy clarifying the ordinance passed at the last city council meeting that allows law enforcement to restrict items within a perimeter even in the absence of a permitted event.
“if you see something, say something!” farole also recommends the “if you see something, send something” snitching app & highly recommends calling 911 about anything suspicious.
a lot of lingering confusion on when and where items can be prohibited and what those items might be. gotta be honest, i’m confused, too.
“if the police set up a perimeter,” items can be restricted. brackney says again that they won’t be searching people but the perimeter will probably be the same as the street closures, “where we are controlling those streets.”
a community member asks if there will be officers with CIT training. there’s a strong possibility of mental illness related incidents that weekend.
brackney says 90% of CPD officers are CIT trained.
“regardless of ideology, we will be policing behaviors. it’s as simple as that.”
brackney comes back to this refrain in response to a man’s concerns that counterprotesters and community defenders typically bear the brunt of police violence.
meeting adjourned.
the livetweet from the community wide meeting with (mostly) the same panel we had a few weeks ago is here, for comparison:

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