Virginia State Police spent $3.1 million on Aug. 11-12 anniversary demonstrations

Expenses included lodging, meals, paid overtime and aviation

IMG_BB2CF2D5C514-1

Law enforcement personnel near the Downtown Mall on the anniversary of the Unite the Right rally on Aug. 12, 2018.

Riley Walsh | Cavalier Daily

Virginia State Police spent around $3.1 million assisting the City of Charlottesville on the one-year anniversary weekend of the white nationalist rallies of Aug. 11 and 12, according to information released by officials Thursday. 

Hundreds of law enforcement personnel, including more than 700 Virginia state troopers, were present in the downtown Charlottesville area and throughout the region during the Aug. 11 and 12 weekend as Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Interim City Manager Mike Murphy declared state and local emergencies, respectively.

Police activity during the weekend drew sharp criticism from community members and students for the heavy law enforcement presence and use of riot gear. The elevated police presence came after law enforcement failed to intervene to stop white supremacist violence at last year’s rallies in August 2017. An independent report called the 2017 police response inadequate.

According to the VSP statement, the $3.1 million covered the cost of lodging, meals, paid overtime and aviation in preparation for and during the weekend state of emergency. Approximately $953,000 was spent on equipment and vehicle costs and $885,000 was paid in normal salaries for officers who would have worked, even if they were not assisting in Charlottesville.

Virginia State Police has submitted its associated costs to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management for reimbursement, as defined in Virginia state of emergency law.

Albemarle County, the City of Charlottesville and the Commonwealth of Virginia spent over $500,000 in response to white supremacist rallies in 2017, including the Unite the Right rally in August, The Daily Progress reported last December. The Daily Progress also reported that the University paid $63,000 for security over the Unite the Right weekend. 

The University Police Department and Albemarle County Police Department have not released expenses for Aug. 11 and 12, 2018. The City of Charlottesville will have cost estimates in the near future, the City’s director of communications Brian Wheeler said Thursday.

related stories