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Governor Northam declares states of emergency ahead of Charlottesville rally anniversary

Published: Aug. 8, 2018 at 3:07 PM EDT
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Anticipating potential unrest this weekend, states of emergency have been declared for the Commonwealth and the city of Charlottesville by Governor Ralph Northam.

Northam's action authorizes local and state resources to pre-stage and coordinate response to keep the peace and address potential impacts of events in and around the City of Charlottesville and outside of Washington, D.C., on August 10-12.

Multiple events are planned to mark the anniversary of the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, which resulted in the deaths of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, and Virginia State Police Troopers Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, III and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates.

These state of emergency declarations will enhance planning and cooperative response efforts that have been in development since March. A state of emergency is an administrative tool that allows state agencies to perform actions outside the scope of normal operations in order to ensure that all necessary resources and assistance are provided as quickly as possible to local governments, and Virginia’s residents.

“Declaring this state of emergency in advance of the anniversary and the related planned events will help us ensure that the state and the city have all available resources to support emergency responders in case they're needed," said Governor Northam. "Virginia continues to mourn the three Virginians who lost their lives in the course of the demonstrations a year ago. We hope the anniversary of those events passes peacefully."

“We have learned many lessons from the tragic events of August 12, 2017. For the anniversary of that difficult August weekend which resulted in three lost lives, the City of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and the University of Virginia are working closely with law enforcement and public safety agencies from around Virginia to plan for potential events and to keep our city safe from violence,” said Charlottesville’s Interim City Manager Mike Murphy. “We join the Commonwealth in declaring a state of emergency in advance of these planned events to ensure all available resources are in place and that we are fully prepared to keep the peace in Charlottesville August 10-12.”

The Commonwealth state of emergency declaration mobilizes and funds state resources from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia State Police, Virginia Department of Health, Virginia National Guard, and other state agencies that will be deployed to Charlottesville and Northern Virginia. It further activates the Virginia Emergency Operations Center to coordinate state resources. Finally, it allocates $2 million to pay for this response and authorizes the Virginia National Guard to assign forces to assist in security efforts.