A Massachusetts officer who had a major hand in planning the deadly Unite The Right march in Charlottesville, Virginia, is only just now being placed on administrative leave. John Donnelly, 33, who had both security and general planning positions in the organizing of the march also used an alias to post racist and antisemetic comments online. Due to a recent inquiry made by HuffPost, confirmation was obtained that the officer still maintained status within the Woburn Police Department near Boston.
Donnelly can clearly be seen on video from that tragic day on August 12th, 2017 at the Charlottesville rally, right alongside Richard Spencer, another white supremacist whom he was apparently acting as a security guard for. The two and their crew gathered that day under a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee as they posed for photos and conducted livestreams.
As the world watched, Donnelly, Spencer, and hundreds of other white supremacists descended upon the town, spewing hatred and physically assaulting antifascist counter protesters. As you may recall, one neo nazi tragically ended the life of a 32 year old woman as he drove his car through a crowd, while also seriously injuring 19 others.
After Donnelly attended a celebration party held that evening in honor of the day’s events, he apparently returned to his job as a Massachusetts police officer. Not only has he been able to maintain his job for five years after the rally, but he’s also an award winning real estate agent in the town of Woburn, with billboards made in his honor.
While Donnelly’s involvement in Charlottesville rally went largely under the radar throughout this five year time span, an anti fascist collective by the name of Ignite The Right recently provided HuffPost with video evidence of the officer’s participation, as well as the strong of messages promoting violence against minority groups, all connecting back to him.
After an investigation, HuffPost was able to confirm that Donnelly was indeed still employed by the Woburn Police Department, and presented all collected evidence against him. Following the contact made between the publication and the department, Police Chief Robert Rufo and Woburn Mayor Scott Galvin released a statement announcing Donnelly being placed on administrative leave.
“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.”
Donnelly did not respond to multiple requests for comment, and has since deleted his social media accounts.