A University of Virginia professor warned Charlottesville police of impending violence on the night before Heather Heyer’s death at the “Unite the Right” rally, according to documents obtained by Shadowproof under a Freedom of Information Act request.
The documents include emails sent and received by the Charlottesville mayor, sheriff, and police chief on August 11 and 12, when white nationalists descended upon the city.
An email from University of Virginia professor Walt Heinecke to the Charlottesville police chief describes violent confrontations that occurred as a result of “no police intervention” on the first day of the rally. Heinecke warned, “If this is a sign of things to come, the White supremacists will be violent tomorrow.”
The next day, counter-protester Heather Heyer was killed when an alleged white supremacist plowed into her and others with his car.
In an email to the city council from Maurice Jones, city manager for Charlottesville, Jones wrote, “We will not be sending out information about the presser until 5:30 to limit the number of protesters who may attend,” stressing this is “highly confidential.”
Mike Signer, the mayor of Charlottesville, forwarded the email without comment to Leslie Lake, an employee of the public relations firm Powell Tate.
Another email from Charlottesville city council member Kathleen Galvin suggests Lake was brought on as a consultant to “provide any communications help needed.” Galvin appeared concerned that an outside consultant was unnecessary and costly.
The emails also include talking points produced by Galvin for the mayor. Galvin suggests Signer “hold the president accountable for bringing our politics into the gutter. When you [sic] dancing with the devil and play with people prejudices, you get events like this weekend.”
Read all the documents obtained from Charlottesville officials below:
Charlottesville FOIA docs (PDF)