Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer said Thursday the City Council is meeting behind closed doors to discuss personnel matters following the Aug. 12 white supremacist rally that turned violent in the heart of the city.
In a statement posted on Facebook, Signer said the emergency closed session with the city manager is because the events on Aug. 12 in Charlottesville, Va., "raised serious questions about the city's handling of security, communications, and governance."
Signer, a Democrat, said Charlottesville's form of government is old — the police chief reports to the city manager, who oversees allowing for permits and those permits' security plans. The mayor and City Council have no "operational role" in those decisions, Signer said.
Because of that, Signer said he and the City Council were not give the security plan for the Aug. 12 "Unite the Right" rally that included white supremacist groups.
"During a briefing on the Thursday before Aug. 12 with the police chief, the fire chief, and the city manager, when I asked the police chief what I could do to be helpful during that day as mayor, he answered, ‘Stay out of my way,'" Signer wrote.
"Despite repeated requests, I was not allowed into the city's Command Center (run by city staff) and was instead asked to be in the Emergency Operations Center (where fire, rescue, and other stakeholders were monitoring the situation)."
Signer said he called for an independent review of all decisions related to the rally, which "will also include recommendations of reforms and new policies going forward."
It's been nearly two weeks since the violent weekend, when an alleged white supremacist sympathizer drove his car into a group of anti-protesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 35 others, according to the latest reports.
There have been criticisms of the city and law enforcement for a breakdown in dealing with the rally, both before and during. Law enforcement experts have said there are lessons to be learned from the weekend's events.
The Department of Justice was set to host a "community town hall" event Thursday night in collaboration with the city, but it has been moved to Sunday afternoon.