Unite the Right torch rally ends in violence

Members of the Alt-Right led a torch march through the grounds of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville Friday night. 

The University of Virginia Police Department and other officials heard about the Aug. 11 tiki torch march that sparked violence at the Rotunda as early as Aug. 8, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported on Monday.

The Chronicle received more than 3,000 pages of documents through a public records request, some of which show communication among UVa officials and others before, during and after hundreds of white nationalists marched through Grounds from Nameless Field to the Rotunda.

The documents were also provided to The Daily Progress on Tuesday.

UVa officials on Tuesday reiterated that university police and the administration had not received consistent intelligence on the event.

“With regard to the events of August 11, and as previously stated, there was contradictory and misleading information about locations, routes and timing,” a university spokesperson said in an email.

According to the The Chronicle’s story, Capt. Donald H. McGee, a UVa police officer, told Michael A. Gibson, the university’s chief of police, and several other officers on Aug. 8 that there appeared to be a torch-lit march planned for the evening of Aug. 11. McGee sent the email following a meeting with the Charlottesville Police Department.

“It was stated that at 9PM there were plans to replicate the tiki torch march they made last month at an undisclosed location,” McGee wrote, according to The Chronicle. “There is concern that the location could be the Rotunda or Lawn area, since Mr. Spencer, an alum, will likely be at the Friday event.”

It is not clear if or when police told university officials about the planned march.

In September, university officials told The Progress that President Teresa A. Sullivan first learned of the march on Grounds the evening of Aug. 11 when a Lawn resident showed her a social media post.

According to The Chronicle, on Aug. 9, Sullivan sent an email to the Board of Visitors saying there was the possibility of Unite the Right rally attendees coming to Grounds.

“Of course we anticipate that some of them will be interested merely in seeing Mr. Jefferson’s architecture and Lawn,” Sullivan wrote, according to the article.

Pre-event intelligence published in a timeline produced by university police in conjunction with the Office of University Counsel and shared with Deans Working Group, the group that analyzed university police and UVa’s response to Aug.11, did not mention any information that was obtained earlier than Aug. 10.

According to the timeline, on Aug. 10, university police sent an email stating that Virginia State Police intelligence indicated that the “Alt-Right would meet at Darden-Towe Park (Albemarle County) at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, August 11, 2017 to replicate the tiki torch march.”

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