A suspicious package found outside the Federal Building and United States District Court in downtown Charlottesville Friday night was a “personal item,” according to the city.
The surrounding streets were closed for about two hours as the Virginia State Police clearance team was called in to investigate.
The package was found just days before the start of a federal civil lawsuit on Monday against the organizers of the Unite the Right rally on August 12, 2017.
It was discovered around 6:45 p.m. Friday, and Charlottesville police and firefighters rushed into the area. At 8:30 p.m., an investigation determined that there was no threat to public safety.
“I can confirm this was a personal item,” city spokesman Brian Wheeler said in an email. âNothing that was a security threat. I have no additional information.
The building, at the intersection of West Water Street and West Main Street near the Omni Hotel in Charlottesville, will be the site of the civil court case Sines v. Monday’s Kessler, which will be heard by a jury.
Wheeler said on Sunday he had nothing to share regarding the city’s public safety plans during the trial.
The lawsuit targets the main organizers and participants of the Unite the Right rally on August 12, 2017 and the previous torchlight march on the grounds of the University of Virginia. The lawsuit alleges that 14 people and 10 organizations engaged in a racist plot to terrorize and harm the residents of Charlottesville, violating the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and various other laws.