A Massachusetts police officer was recently put on leave five years after he planned and attended a Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the HuffPost reports.
On Thursday (October 13), the Woburn Police Department announced that Officer John Donnelly was put on paid leave pending an investigation into his role in the 2017 "Unite the Right" rally.
"Chief [Robert] Rufo recently learned that Officer John Donnelly allegedly participated in and was active in the planning of the so-called "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017," the police department and mayor of Woburn said in a statement.
During the rally, mobs chanted "Jews will not replace us," while holding and, in some cases, throwing burning tiki torches, per CBS News. One rally participant, neo-Nazi and Hitler sympathizer James Alex Fields Jr., drove his car through a crowd of counter-protestors, leaving dozens injured and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
Donnelly was a Woburn reserve officer at the time of the Charlottesville march.
"Upon learning about the officer's role, Chief Rufo acted immediately, placing the officer on leave and ordering an internal affairs review," the police department said Thursday. "The officer will remain on leave until the review is completed."
Rufo said the department will request that the state of Massachusetts decertify Donelly if their investigation concludes that the allegations, which have been confirmed true by the HuffPost, are accurate. Mayor Scott Galvin also said he would seek to fire Donnelly barring the investigation.
"The Charlottesville rally is a dark moment in our history, and deeply disturbing," Galvin said. "The City of Woburn is taking these allegations seriously by investigating the incident thoroughly and I will move to terminate Officer Donnelly if the investigation concludes that the allegations are accurate."
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