Lessons from Charlottesville 2017 Protests and Violence

In the wake of the violence that occurred during the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., Hunton & Williams, LLP was retained to perform an independent evaluation of the city’s handling of the summer protest events. The report offers critical lessons for public safety and insights for efforts to ensure peaceful public gatherings. The report reads in part:

“In 2017, a series of events in Charlottesville made this community a flashpoint in a larger American discussion about race, history, and the challenges of free speech. When our City Council voted to remove two statues of generals who fought for the confederacy during the Civil War, the action triggered a series of events that brought hatred, violence, and despair to our community. Three people lost their lives, and numerous other lives were dramatically and unalterably changed by what happened in our community. In the following pages, we try to make sense of the tragic events of 2017. We start with the facts, as truth must be the foundation for any constructive effort to learn and improve.”

“We intend for those facts to be the foundation for learning how this community and other small cities can better handle large protest events. We document what went right and what went wrong on each occasion. We consider issues of public safety, communications, permitting, and interagency coordination. We look ahead and make specific recommendations to guide preparation for and response to future events in Charlottesville and elsewhere.”

Read the Full Report


Safe Communities Institute

The Safe Communities Institute (SCI) at the USC Price School of Public Policy continues a more than 60-year tradition of research, interdisciplinary education, and collaboration to advance sustainable “whole-of-community” public safety strategies, policies, and programs. SCI takes a holistic approach to encouraging and informing public safety efforts through collaboration between all public safety disciplines and the communities they serve.

Officer Spotlight - Hatcher Parnell is Director of the Office of Executive Protection Services at the University of Southern California (USC)! Read more.