Charlottesville police are being criticized for taking too long in getting an alleged assault and battery case into the hands of an investigator for an incident that took place on December 20. At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Police Chief Tim Longo admitted there was a breakdown because they had never assigned an investigator to follow up on the case.
Longo included in his statement at the press conference:
This is a case quite frankly that by virtue of where it occurred, and virtue of a sense of urgency about attacks that are taking place around the country in public places would have got a sense of urgency had myself or one of the Captains actually looked at the report. I regret that when first learning about the incident that I didn’t personally come in and look at the report.
On December 20 at 1:40 AM at the downtown mall, Charlottesville police said that an incident which started as a verbal confrontation escalated into a violent beating. One of the victims had tripped and fell, and two suspects began mocking him. Allegedly, words were exchanged and a physical altercation ensued. One of the victims received damage to his tooth and sustained soft tissues injuries. Two suspects, 25-year old Malcolm James Stevenson and 23-year old Richard Bernard Spears are being charged with assault and battery by the Charlottesville Police.
The Police Chief added that the case had been left in the hands of police officers but should have been immediately referred to investigators. “It’s not because I don’t think patrol officers can conduct an investigation properly,” he said. “Patrol officers conduct investigations every day, it’s just that this is a resource-intensive process.”
The incident gained attention after one of the victims posted pictures online of the alleged attackers, saying she snapped them during the attack. Longo stated that “this particular incident got widespread publicity that touched every part of the country that there was a knockout game punch that had taken place at the downtown mall.” But he insisted that “there is nothing to believe that this is the case.”
Police Chief Tim Longo affirmed that Charlottesville police will be revising and improving their protocols so that “several sets of eyes” will view cases that involve this type of violence.