Charlottesville Police Chief: ‘Absolutely I Have Regrets … We Lost 3 Lives'

WASHINGTON — Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas stood by the actions of state and local police in response to violent clashes between protesters on Saturday, but said that city police weren’t dressed in riot gear and that police resources were stretched as the large crowds swarmed through city.

“We were spread thin once the groups dispersed,” Thomas said during a news briefing Monday afternoon.

He said that city officers were dressed in their daily uniforms and did not have protective gear because officials were hoping for a peaceful event.

Thomas said officers were never told not to interfere in fights that broke out nor were officers instructed not to make any arrests. At least four people were arrested on Saturday, including the Ohio man charged with second-degree murder for killing a Mechanicsville woman who was there as part of a counter protest.

Thomas said that it took an hour to clear Emancipation Park but that groups kept moving through the city and it was difficult to maintain order over such a large area.

“Absolutely I have regrets,” Thomas said. “We lost three lives this weekend … it was a tragic, tragic weekend.”

Stay with WTOP for updates on this developing story.

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