RPD Chief on Sept. 16 rallies: 'We're preparing for the unknown.'

Updated: Sep. 8, 2017 at 5:34 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A pro-Confederate monument group says it plans to move forward with a rally to protect the Robert E. Lee Monument in Richmond on Sept. 16.

According to the Facebook event page, the rally is being hosted by "CSAII: The New Confederate States of America," which is based out of Tennessee.

The description on the page says:

CSA II®: The New Confederate States of America, as well as Ms.Tara Brandau and fellow supporting individuals/organizations, will be standing up to protect the General Robert E. Lee Monument in Richmond, Virginia from being taken down or destroyed. We hope you will come out and support our efforts and stand tall for our Proud Confederate Monuments. This rally is a Heritage ~ Not Hate Rally and any Hate will NOT be stood for on our side whatsoever.

*** Any type of racist or race baiting comments on here will be deleted and you will be banned. We are about Heritage ~ Not Hate ONLY!!! ***

*** Also, there will be a meet-up at 9am at a location TBD prior to this event away from the event area to go over any and ALL rules that will be in place by the Richmond PD so this rally goes off safely. If you are attending this event, you will need to be at that location for the pre-event meeting. ***

Another page titled "Fight White Nationalism" says it's using the page as a placeholder while they "go through the necessary permit and planning process.

We are still getting word of people showing up to the Lee Monument on the 16th despite not being gr anted a permit. This for awareness."

On Friday, NBC12 asked Mayor Levar Stoney and Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham about the possible rallies.

"To be open and honest with you, there is a lot of anxiety because of the fear of the unknown," said Chief Durham. "We have not received any permits so we really don't know who's coming. So that's what we're preparing for the unknown."

But the city says it has been working on a plan since August after the violence in Charlottesville.

"We're going to do everything we can to prevent injury to our residents and also damage to property," said Mayor Stoney.

But the plan for response is not being discussed publicly right now.

"I don't want to speak on that," said Chief Durham.  "We're going to be presenting information next week."

Several posts on the Confederate group's invitation page says they've been in touch with RPD about security and said, "No racist groups will be allowed."

Meanwhile, police are also investigating vandalism at the reconciliation statue in Shockoe Bottom. The statue is a part of the slave trail. Delegate Delores McQuinn says there was also a sticker that said, "Confederate States Forever."

"It's so unfortunate because this statue (is) symbolic of where we need to be moving as a country, and that's reconciling our differences," said Delegate McQuinn.

Both the mayor and chief did say they will be meeting with the Museum and Fan District neighborhood groups about safety before Sept. 16.  On Friday, the chef, members of RPD and Capitol Police were seen walking the neighborhoods around the Lee Monument and talking to people who live there.

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