Task force gives McAuliffe recommendations following review of deadly Charlottesville rally

A white nationalist demonstrator with a helmet and shield walks into Lee Park in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. Hundreds of people chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays on each other Saturday after violence erupted at a white nationalist rally in Virginia. At least one person was arrested. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A task force put together by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe released a report Tuesday detailing a list of recommendations to prevent violence at public rallies like the one that happened in Charlottesville in August.

Some of the 16 recommendations included ideas previously discussed, like allowing localities to prohibit firearms at permitted events, getting localities to adopt a uniform permitting process and figuring out a way to better share information between government agencies.

Report: Law enforcement failed at violent Charlottesville rally

The Task Force on Public Safety Preparedness and Response to Civil Unrest was created back in August by McAuliffe’s Executive Order 68 shortly after the violent protest which left a woman dead.

It was chaired by Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran.

Members were asked to evaluate the circumstances that led to the violent white supremacist events in Charlottesville on Aug. 11 and 12 and assess the Commonwealth’s procedures for preparing for and responding to events where civil unrest could occur.

After a series of meetings, the group came up with this final report, which was presented to the governor Dec.1.

The task force found many localities do not have a special event permitting processes, and those that do, often fail to address First Amendment activities.

The report suggests the permitting process should encompass:

  • Threshold for requiring a permit
  • Capacity limits for public spaces
  • Tiered permit applications
  • Time restrictions
  • Timeline for submitting and reviewing permit applications
  • Fees
  • Off-duty public safety officers
  • Weapons restrictions
  • Coordination
  • Communication
  • Evaluation and feedback

The report also said there is currently no uniform process for sharing information among agencies and across levels of government, which “presents significant challenges when planning for events and tracking resource requests.”

Now, the Governor’s office is forming a response.

“The Governor and his team continue to review this report and other information as they prepare actions or legislative proposals to strengthen Virginia’s approach to these types of events in the future,” McAuliffe spokesperson Brian Coy said.

You can view the full report here.

The task force’s report comes just days after an independent review by U.S. Attorney Tim Heaphy found that law enforcement’s failure to maintain order lead to “deep distrust of government” in the Charlottesville community.