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there are four still empty seats on the stage here at the jefferson school for tonight’s “listening session” about how the city handled the events of this past weekend. who will fill them? why can we never start on time? so many unanswered questions.
we’ve got four out of five city councilors. no mike signer, no police chief brackney.
“we are here to listen” but it “may be hard to answer” a lot of questions because it’s only been a few days since the weekend and “information is still coming in.” this from the new staff position assisting council. mayor walker now speaking.
“in this community, we do have a lot of work to do”
“this night is about the community. we want you to know that we’re here, that we’re listening, that we are attempting to be on a path of correction.”
nikuyah striking a good tone starting things off.
mike signer is “out of town,” apparently. poorly timed vacation, mike.
“don’t be shy,” wes says to the crowd. community members now approaching the mic to make comments.
first speaker: “imagine how different this weekend would have been if the police had understood they their primary responsibility” was protecting the free speech rights of protestors. he says it’s clear they didn’t. they came in hostile.
he thanks community organizers, clergy, and other leaders. they maintained their cool despite the presence of 1000 riot cops, not because of them. the crowd applauds.
“the primary purpose of policing has always been to protect the powerful,” he says.
an organizer from uva students united now reading a statement on behalf of several community organizations.
the full text of that statement can be found here:

lots of applause from the crowd throughout the statement
next speaker is an older white woman who says she has offered before & is offering again to privately pay for better deescalation training for our police. she demands this be a line item in the next budget.
she says she is a former member of the cville police foundation and has seen this kind of training work well in the past, but it’s been a decade and there’s been a lot of turnover.
she points out that the racist statues were put up SEVENTY YEARS after the end of the civil war. it’s like if germany put up statues honoring rommel today. she says they need to come down, judge decision or not.
tanesha up now. “while i appreciate the overpolicing for white nazis, we need to decrease the policing” in black neighborhoods.
tanesha: “this isn’t the accountability we asked for.”
“we asked y’all to apologize” “and to cut some checks”
now specifically addressing kathy galvin, who originally voted to keep the statues.
“it’s always the right time to do the right thing.”
“you need to start making the right decisions. you need to start passing policies that affect people who look like me.”
she scolds them for ignoring low income citizens.
sage smith
amari hill
ebony morgan
lamia beard
noony norwood
india monroe

nancy names six trans women of color who have gone missing or been murdered in virginia. why can we spend millions on overpolicing and nothing on finding justice for them?
she also asks why interim city manager mike murphy isn’t up on stage, since he’s the one who can actually do anything.
kathy galvin could not look more bored as people pour out their pain.
an attorney from NLG now reading their statement on overpolicing over the weekend. statement can be read in full here:
the short version: police escalated situations repeatedly. community members kept each other safe.
human rights are more important than potential property damage. big applause for that sentiment.
a community member, talking about last year, asks why the city wasn’t warned about the threat. a massive, collective reply from the audience: “they were.”
a community member who was injured on august 11th last year now thanking wes & nikuyah for their work deescalating situations over the weekend.
“they [the police] wanted it to get ugly. because they’re embarrassed about last year.”
he notes that UVA has no representative on stage. they have a lot to answer for & are a big part of this community.
“there was more care for property than people.” that’s what police are for, after all.
“most of the safety measures went away at sundown on sunday, when jason kessler was coming back to charlottesville.”
kessler didn’t end up doing anything, but if they really cared about the nazi threat, why did they pack it in just as the nazi who organized last year’s rally was heading back to town?
“were they [the police] really just here to keep tabs on antifa & people that live here?”
he says everyone in this room is an antifascist. that antifa don’t deserve prison, we deserve a PARADE!
jeff fogel at the mic.
“what are we doing here tonight? is the city council prepared to hold the people they hired accountable?”
he says the white people on council never met a police action they didn’t like.
he says the notion that the government can stop us on the main streets of our city for searches is unconscionable.
why didn’t they tell us about the checkpoints sooner? we didn’t know about the searches until we showed up.
they called an emergency without a factual basis for declaring an emergency. this was a training session. it was a desire to make up for last year.

of the mass searches: “that is the hallmark of an authoritarian society”
“i don’t care how NICE the cops are... they have no right to search you on the streets of your city without probable cause.”
they pulled out all the stops for this, “but you can’t do a goddamn thing for affordable housing”
jeff was on fire tonight.
a woman says she was stopped as she left work, she was tailed by police on several occasions this weekend. the overpolicing hurt our community. “that could’ve been my black son.”
“it is not safe for black people to be here” with that many cops.
another community member emphasizing an earlier point that the police protected property not people. this is the legacy of our constitution.
the statues were well protected with fencing and riot police.
“i did not see people, our people, treated with the same care or interest.”
“why are we spending so much time, money, and energy protecting statues and not people?”
applause from the audience.
she is explaining now how she taught her children to apologize when they’ve wronged someone. some members of council do need this explained to them on a toddler’s level.
“i am so goddamn proud of uva students united,” says a grad student. those students ran an INCREDIBLE action on saturday night.
“i don’t feel like lessons are being learned,” he says. overpolicing in response to underpolicing last year is not a step in the right direction.
apparently UVA sent out an email DURING saturday’s march advising people to “avoid the area.”
if uva really stood with students, the email would’ve encouraged people to join the demonstration!
he’s talking now about UVA hosting hosting state troopers in lambeth apartments (student housing). there were so many cop cars that they were parked on the grass between apartment buildings.
speaker: the helicopters hovering low over saturday’s action was not there to “keep us safe.” it was to drown out our demonstration, to intimidate us.
“this weekend was theater of the excess,” police abandoned the checkpoints, they removed the barricades at 4th street after confrontation and negotiation... this proves there was no point to them in the first place.
next speaker: “i was confused as to what the police presence was protecting.”
parks & statues were well guarded, but many large community gatherings that could’ve been targets for white supremacist violence were utterly unprotected.
“when it came to groups of people who actually needed protecting... there wasn’t.”
police protected PROPERTY NOT PEOPLE.
“there has got to be something in between” last year’s stand down & this year’s overpolicing.
the next speaker asks the city to confirm or deny whether ICE was a part of the massive state mobilization this past weekend & clarify the point of the CONSTANT, very low hovering helicopter.
the next speaker says they will not state their name or where they live due to targeted nazi harassment & calls for the city to stop participating in doxxing activists. drop the charges against anti racist and anti fascist activists.
tanesha specifically asks kathy where she was this weekend. kathy very defensively outlines her activities throughout the weekend. (i didn’t see her either — i did see wes, nikuyah, and heather on the streets, though)
“in washington park on sunday morning, i felt safe, i felt proud.” the organizers who put on sunday morning’s programming did an incredible job. thank you ❤️
sarah, a member of the CRB, says she saw jason kessler being escorted like precious cargo by police. why were we not treated so carefully by police?
she also asks for a cost estimate of this weekend’s policing.
this speaker asks the city to consider the optics of the way police interact with the community. keeping their backs to racists & facing community members at last summer’s klan rally, etc.
call & response led by a community member at the mic: who keeps us safe? WE KEEP US SAFE.
why did police deliberately keep people from leaving when things escalated at fourth & water st?
she is describing several occasions in which community members were kettled.
police don’t seem to realize their behavior is radicalizing ordinary people.
she describes a sensation i also felt on saturday night — marching in the dark, that low-hovering helicopters spotlight was very disorienting. it wasn’t safe.
as a uva employee, she was very disappointed in the way they handled saturday’s action & that there’s no representative from UVA here tonight.
an older white woman seems genuinely saddened by the way police treated her “like a suspect” when her bag was searched downtown this weekend. “it was distressing, it was unconvincing.” people see right through this security theater.
the next speaker says the city should take up that earlier speaker’s offer to get deescalation training for police. she says the city shouldn’t ask for outside help from other agencies unless they, too, are certified in deescalation.
“in the past 18 months i have made it my mission to get woke.”
this town is full of people who have rapidly radicalized. it’s beautiful to see.
the speaker says she reached out to councilor heather hill when she saw her walking alone on saturday, asking her if she was ok & if she was with anyone. she says heather said she “didn’t need a buddy,” motioning to all of the police around.
speaker to council: “i hope that you will listen, eventually.”
“you can choose to be a part of this community, you can choose to be relevant... or you can choose to be irrelevant.” 🙌
“there’s this adversarial relationship” between kathy, mike, & heather and the community. “and it’s gotta change.”
next speaker opens by saying she was extremely disturbed by this weekend’s police presence, “i did not feel safe at all.”
the presence of riot police with chemical weapons at saturday night’s student action was unnecessary, frightening. they didn’t seem to know what they were doing. speaker says an unlawful assembly was declared... they must not have said it very loud, i didn’t know that!
she’s now describing the very confusing incident at the barricades at fourth and water on sunday afternoon. after a standoff, police moved the barricades and separated into two lines. she says it was like they were enticing people to move so they could attack them.
i agree: that was a VERY confusing situation. it felt like it was about to get ugly. we need some answers.
she says she hates to pile on heather hill, but since kathy & mike weren’t even there...
she is tearing up as she says it’s deeply concerning to have heather on the council. she saw her THANKING lines of cops over the weekend.
ms rosia is addressing interim city manager mike murphy (he’s been sitting silently in the back of the room)
ms rosia now thanking wes & nikuyah for being out there with us over the weekend. scolding heather for thanking the cops.
“i’m not gonna stop fighting until my people win.”
ms rosia is a treasure. we are so lucky to have her fire.
why was pleasants the officer assigned to the vehicle that tailed the march? he has a history of community complaints about his behavior. this was an unnecessary escalation.
the promised parking restrictions around friendship court never materialized this weekend. low income communities of color specifically requested this.
ms rosia jokes that signer probably isn’t here because he’s accepting more awards for defending democracy - “i would like to have those awards. they belong to me.”
S P I C Y public comment 🌶
ms rosia, a member of the police civilian review board, says most members of the CRB were out this weekend watching the behavior of the police. should be plenty to talk about at their next meeting.
ms katrina now also giving heather a hard time about thanking the cops. she points out that heather famously posted a blue lives matter heart on facebook last year after the police STOOD DOWN AND LET SOMEONE BE MURDERED
ms katrina is grilling heather about how long she was even downtown over the weekend. she’s defensively recalling her schedule in way too much detail. it’s not a great look.
ms katrina says the intel she has is that the town wasn’t shut down because of nazis, because of klan, or proud boys, or any of their kind... it was “because of antifa.”
she says that’s very troubling “because antifa saved us” last year.
next speaker reminds us that overpolicing is an issue in our streets EVERY day, not just last weekend. he also points out that not one person has gotten up to make a positive comment tonight “and i’m not gonna be the first one” 👏👏👏
“i saw the state police riot squad pour out of buses” and take a group photo in front of the lee statue.

speaker is calling attention to chief brackney’s promise (lie) that people and bags would not be searched & that the checkpoints had a distinct racial bias in the thoroughness of searches.
“if you want to know why people scream at the meetings, it’s because they have discovered it’s the only way you won’t forget”
this speaker tells council there is a simple way to stop the screaming:
“city council: do your job. people of charlottesville: keep protesting! keep holding their feet to the fire.”
a community member who was legal observing during sunday morning’s rally at washington park asks why a canine unit was stationed across the street during the event. says it’s old school intimidation.
the next speaker opens by saying that mike murphy is in the back, not on stage, and chief brackney isn’t even here. “the powers that be have already decided that this weekend was a success” but everyone knows “it was a shitshow.”
he posits that they chose to put city council on stage instead of anyone who is actually accountable to limit the amount of anger we could unleash on the people responsible for the mistakes that were made.
almost every single community member who made a comment tonight has expressed gratitude and love for this community. we kept us safe. in spite of, not because of, the enormous police presence.
apparently an unlawful assembly was declared saturday evening and that was rescinded “within a minute” ?
this will probably never be completely clear.
this speaker says police should’ve communicated with us better on sunday afternoon during that confusing standoff at fourth and water. people didn’t know what was expected of them or how to safely leave.
wes takes the mic to respond, but first comes to heather hill’s defense.
wes is attempting to explain why things escalated at the barricades at fourth & water on sunday afternoon. allegedly it was over people leaving through those barricades (rather than the checkpoint) after susan bro’s appearance at the memorial & folks trying to get back in there.
when the crowd asked if the officer on top of the armored vehicle could put his gun down (instead of pointing it at the crowd), wes asked the lieutenant. he said yes. apparently the officer himself “wasn’t comfortable” doing that and had to be convinced.
this sounds like a problem. officers disobeying direct orders from their superiors. trigger happy.
nikuyah is defending the police. i wish she didn’t feel like she had to do this.
“i am not defending anyone,” she says. but she said the cops were very calm. as jeff said earlier, it doesn’t matter if the cops are NICE when they violate your civil rights.
she has a very important point about how police affect the lives of black people every day - something to keep in mind as people complain about what may have been their first experiences with aggressive overpolicing.
resuming public comment now. the meeting was set to end at 8, but they’re allowing everyone who wants to speak have a turn.
i would LOVE to know what kathy has been writing on her little notepad all night.
“this year we were guinea pigs for how to run a police state.”
yes. yes my comrades and i said this over and over again all weekend. it felt like an exercise. practice. preparation for locking down a city.
she also asks if the five empty buses she saw getting a police escort out of town on sunday night were meant to be paddy wagons for mass arrests this weekend.
next speaker says the nazis didn’t come back this year not just because we got LUCKY, but because of the work of antifascists dismantling their networks. big applause from the crowd for antifa 🏴
veronica calls for people to put their bodies on the line, step up when someone is in danger, get trained in dearrest tactics, engage in community defense. veronica is a hero to this community ❤️✊
“the police began as slave catchers,” this speaker reminds us.
of last summer: “we told y’all over and over. we told y’all who was coming. we told y’all what they wanted to do to us and our city.”
“the police protect nazis. police protest fascists. because they are born of that legacy.”
“a threat to white supremacy, a threat to whit supremacy, is a threat to the state. and the police are just the security guards of the state.”
the police were not here to protect us.
oh kathy, i thought you were here to LISTEN? why does she always “just have to make a comment...”
she’s being awfully defensive about where she was this weekend.
she says last year in the situation room she was told “there was no credible threat” that met the “high bar” the state requires. this doesn’t answer the question about whether there was a credible threat this year.
she says the bigger concern this year was “lone wolves” - bombers, snipers, etc. she says that’s why parked cars weren’t allowed. “people could put THINGS in them, dirty bombs.”
she says “we probably did go overboard.” PROBABLY.
“we need to calibrate. we need to adjust.”
you’re “calibrating” with people’s lives, kathy.
“i’m so tired of people blaming black lives matter and antifa,” says this speaker. this community came together this weekend.
“kathy, thank you for whatever it is that you think you did,” says don gathers. the audience laughs and he backtracks. he says he meant it sincerely.
she interrupts angrily to defend herself, but the audience shouts her down. remember three hours ago when she said she was just here to listen? she sure does keep having to be reminded of that.
wes introduces a motion to end the local state of emergency. i didn’t realize we were still in one...
“the threat of violence has dissipated,” apparently. charlottesville has been in a state of emergency since the 8th. that’s nearly a week. they’ve now voted unanimously to end it.
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