The Neo-Nazi Charlottesville rally in August, which killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer, injured multiple people and carved another notch in Trump’s racist belt (in case you forgot, 45 said there are good people in a group of Nazis), has now resulted in the city’s first Black police chief resigning.
Al Thomas, 50, said in a statement, “Nothing in my career has brought me more pride than serving as the police chief for the city of Charlottesville. I will be forever grateful for having had the opportunity to protect and serve a community I love so dearly.” His resignation is effective immediately.
The resignation is on the heels of an independent review of Thomas’ handling of the rally. In the review, U.S. Attorney Tim Heaphy slammed Thomas for being “disappointingly passive” and his “slow-footed response.”
In one blistering account, as the racists and counter protesters began to fight, Thomas allegedly said, “Let them fight, it will make it easier to declare an unlawful assembly.” According to the review, Thomas did not recall making the statement. In addition, Thomas was accused of deleting text messages that were vital to the investigation. Thomas denied this claim.
Al Thomas has been in law enforcement for nearly thirty years. He was appointed police chief of Charlottesville in April 2016.
According to NBC News, reactions to his resignation are mixed. Some people have called for him to be fired. Others feel like he is getting an unfair amount of the blame.