Charlottesville Police Investigating Alleged Assault on Downtown Mall

Dec. 30, 2013

The Charlottesville Police Department is looking into why an investigator wasn't immediately assigned to follow up on an alleged assault.

Police were called to the Downtown Mall shortly before 2 a.m. on Dec. 20th to investigate a report of a unconscious man near the Blue Light Grill. A woman at the scene told officers she and another man were attacked by three African-American men.

Officers say the male victim contacted police on Dec. 21st to provide additional information.

On Dec. 29th, the female victim also contacted police to offer more info.

Police say an overnight patrol officer had been working on the case, but on Monday morning the chief of police reviewed the initial report and additional information from the victims and determined the case should be handled by the General Investigation Bureau.

Now two detectives have been assigned to the case.

Officials are now looking into why there was such a long delay.

"I think there may have been a breakdown in communications," Lt. Ronnie Roberts said. "We reviewed the cases and that breakdown did take place internally. So, we're looking at it from an internal operations standpoint. And to try to fix that internally. But the other side of that is working for the victims in this case and to move forward with our investigation."

Below is the full press release from Lt. Ronnie Roberts:

On the morning of Friday, December 20 at approx. 1:50 am, officers responded to the area of the Blue Light Grill on the mall to investigate an unconscious male. The call was dispatched by the Emergency Communications Center as a Priority 2 Response at 1:42 am, with the first officer arriving on scene at 1:49 am.

Upon their arrival, the officers received information from a female victim that she and a male had been assaulted by 3 African American males who had fled the scene. She also described an African American female who was in the company of the male suspects when the assault occurred. An updated suspect description was broadcasted to officers canvassing the area. No suspects were located at the time.

On the afternoon of December 21, at approximately 1:55 p.m. the male victim contacted police by phone, and provided additional information to include the nature of his injuries; the extent of those injuries were unknown as rescue was refused at the scene.

On December 29, 2013, the female victim responded to the Police Department to provide additional information that could be helpful to the investigative process. It was at this time that she learned that the case had not yet been assigned to an investigator.

On the morning of December 30, the Chief of Police, reviewed the initial report and the subsequent contacts with the victims and directed that the matter be immediately investigated by the department’s General Investigation Bureau. Currently that investigation is underway and entails following up on information previously provided by the victims and pursuing other investigative avenues that may arise from that information or information received by other sources.

Meanwhile, the Chief has asked members of the Field Operations and Support Services Command to determine why the investigation was not immediately assigned to investigators, and to identify precisely where this breakdown occurred.

Anyone with any information about this case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (434) 977-4000.

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