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City police remove Dodge Challenger from service

The Charlottesville Police Department is removing the only Dodge Challenger from its fleet.

The city made the announcement on Thursday.

The car is the same type that James Fields drove into a crowd of people after the 2017 Unite the Right rally, killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens.

Fields appealed his state convictions, which include first-degree murder in the death of Heyer, earlier this week. He already is serving multiple life sentences after accepting a plea agreement in his federal hate crimes case.

The vehicle was purchased for $20,976 on Jan. 19, 2018, from Capital GMC Trucks in Richmond. The city covered it in Special Olympics Torch Run graphics on April 23, 2018.

City Manager Tarron Richardson and Police Chief RaShall Brackney emphasized in a news release that the purchase came before their tenure. At the time, Maurice Jones was city manager and Thierry Dupuis was interim police chief.

“We felt it was appropriate to review the matter after questions were raised on social media and by our community,” Richardson said in the release. “This is clearly a reminder for many of the Summer of Hate and the attack, and we believe removing it from our fleet is in the best interests of the community.”

The vehicle has been removed from service and the city will be rid of it before the fiscal year ends on June 30.


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