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Virginia Beach police chief apologizes for letter sent out ahead of Saturday's Town Center protest

The letter recommended putting away merchandise, emptying registers, shuttering doors and windows, leaving the area and removing construction items (like bricks).

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — On Saturday, Virginia Beach's interim police chief apologized for the tone of a letter sent out ahead of a protest planned for Town Center that day.

The original letter to Town Center Businesses, signed by MPO David Nieves, lead with hopes for a peaceful protest. 

"We hope and expect a peaceful and lawful event as we have shown can be done if everyone cooperates," he wrote. "We would like to make sure you and your business are aware and prepared for any scenario."

The department went on to recommend putting away window merchandise, emptying cash registers, shuttering doors and windows, setting up "no trespassing signs," avoiding the area and removing all construction items (like bricks).

You can read the full letter here.

On the police department's Facebook page, Chief Tony Zucaro wrote that he didn't approve of the letter's content and had apologized to event organizers after he read it.

"It does not reflect the cooperative effort that has ocurred between the Police Department's leadership and event organizers," Zucaro wrote.

He said he'd "taken the necessary steps to ensure appropriate communications from the department will occur moving forward."

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