CINCINNATI -- An independent report released Friday about the Charlottesville, Virginia white nationalist rally reveals new details about how police and emergency medical technicians quickly responded to minimize harm from violent crimes two men with Tri-State roots are accused of committing.
Charlottesville officials hired the law firm Hunton & Williams to prepare the report about the events and how the city handled them. Investigators "found a greater number of failures in both planning and execution," but also some "evident victories."
Police said James Fields Jr. rammed a car into a crowd of counterprotesters near the rally, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and wounding about 20 others. Fields previously lived in Florence, Kentucky, and attended Randall K. Cooper High School in Union. He's facing charges of second-degree murder and multiple counts of felonious assault, malicious wounding and aggravated malicious wounding.
Charlottesville firefighters responded to the scene within minutes, according to the report. Heyer was already dead when they arrived. But the firefighters were able to triage, treat and transport 20 patients in less than 30 minutes, Charlottesville Fire Chief Andrew Baxter told investigators.
"This prompt, effective response represents a bright success on a day largely filled with failure," the report states.
Sheriff rescues man
Not far away, a fight broke out between alt-right demonstrators and counterprotesters. During the fight, Deandre Harris used an item to strike one of the alt-right marchers, and several of them knocked him to the ground in a parking garage, according to the report. Police have charged former Mason High School student Daniel Borden with felonious in connection to the attack, saying he was one of the men who beat Harris with sticks.
Sheriff James Brown witnessed the incident and went into the parking garage, alone, to help Harris, according to the report. Brown found Harris with his head split open and bleeding.
"When Brown looked around, he realized he was the only law enforcement officer in the garage," the report states. "Brown was then approached by another individual who was bleeding from a head wound."
As the marchers moved on, a police lieutenant realized that Brown was alone in the garage and went in to make sure he was safe. More officers and medics arrived a few minutes later and moved Harris away to be treated by paramedics.
Court hearings for both Borden and Fields are scheduled for Dec. 14.