Charlottesville Police Chief Alfred Thomas resigns after criticism over white nationalist rally

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December 19, 2017

RICHMOND, VA - AUGUST 18:  Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas Jr. (C) greets fellow law enforcement officers as they arrive at Saint Paul's Baptist Church ahead of the funeral for Virginia State Police Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates August 18, 2017 in Richmond, Virginia. Bates and Lieutenant Pilot Jay Cullen were killed when their Bell 407 helicopter crashed into a wooded area while they were monitoring the civil unrest during the white supremacy 'Unite the Right' rally August 12 in Charlottesville, VA.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Alfred Thomas, the police chief in Charlottesville, Virginia, has announced his retirement on Monday after 27 years of law enforcement service. The decision comes just weeks after the release of a critical review of his department’s reaction to a violent white nationalist rally over the summer.

“Nothing in my career has brought me more pride than serving as the Police Chief for the City of Charlottesville,” Thomas said in a statement announcing the retirement is effective immediately. “I will be forever grateful for having had the opportunity to protect and serve a community I love so dearly.”

The statement said City Manager Maurice Jones will appoint an interim police chief within the next week and the city will begin searching for its new chief.

Earlier this month, former U.S. Attorney Tim Heaphy released findings from a monthslong investigation into law enforcement’s response to the violent rally in August. The report criticized Thomas’ “slow-footed response” and found that police failed on multiple fronts, leading to “deep distrust of government” in the local community. It also found a lack of preparation and coordination between state and city police and a passive response by officers to the chaos.

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