WOBURN, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A Woburn police officer placed on leave for his alleged role in the 2017 "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia resigned Monday evening, according to Woburn Police Department.
John Donnelly, a patrol officer for Woburn Police Department was placed on leave after allegations were brought to the department saying Donnelly was an active participant in the rally. The allegations stated he attended the rally and was active in the planning as well, according to WPD.
Participants included neo-Nazi groups, Ku Klux Klan groups, and members of white nationalist groups. Some members carried weapons while shouting racist and anti-Semitic chants with the group. A woman was killed at the 2017 rally when James Fields, a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi, fatally hit her with his car after driving into a crowd of counter-protesters.
"A thorough finding of fact is necessary in this situation, and our investigation shall continue," Woburn Police Chief Robert Rufo said in a statement. "For decades, police chiefs across the commonwealth have called for a statewide certification process to ensure that allegations of misconduct are thoroughly investigated, and bad actors are held accountable. That will be our focus moving forward. The men and women of the Woburn Police Department are united in disavowing hate in all its forms."
An internal affairs investigation is underway and will continue after Donnelly's resignation. The Middlesex District Attorney's office is reviewing his involvement in past cases.