THE law enforcement response to a white nationalist rally in Virginia that erupted in violence this summer was a series of failures, a former federal prosecutor has said.

The findings of former US Attorney Tim Heaphy’s months-long investigation were unveiled yesterday.

City officials asked him to conduct the review after facing scathing criticism over the August 12 rally in Charlottesville.

He found a lack of preparation and poor co-ordination between city and state police, including the fact they were unable to communicate by radio.

The report said a school resource officer posted in the area where a car ploughed into counter-protesters was removed over concerns about safety and not replaced.

Heaphy’s report was published online and he is expected to discuss it at a news conference.

Heaphy’s team interviewed 150 people and pored over half a million documents for the report, which found a lack of preparation and co-ordination between state and city police and a passive response by officers to the chaos.

The report said the city of Charlottesville failed to protect public safety or the protesters’ right to express themselves.

“This represents a failure of one of government’s core functions — the protection of fundamental rights,” the report said.

“Law enforcement also failed to maintain order and protect citizens from harm, injury, and death. Charlottesville preserved neither of those principles on August 12, which has led to deep distrust of government within this community.”

White nationalists who descended on Charlottesville in part to protest against plans to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee began fighting in the streets with counter-demonstrators before the event even officially began.

The brawling went on for nearly an hour in plain view of officers until the event eventually disbanded.

Afterwards, as counter-demonstrators were peacefully marching through a central street, a car drove into the crowd, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring many more.