Sandersville, the former homeless encampment in Charlottesville’s Lee Park, is no more.

Named for City Manager, Sam Sanders, the erstwhile tent city was formed in the wake of Sanders’ knee-jerk reaction to false allegations of brutality against the Charlottesville Police Department (CPD).

Following the unfounded charges, instead of allowing CPD to enforce operating hours at the park, Sanders unilaterally abolished them, thus encouraging a lawless occupation by the tented community.

When Sanders unexpectedly reversed course and announced a resumption of Lee Park operating hours, community tensions were heightened over a possible Occupy-like showdown between police and park “residents.”

While that anticipated violent encounter never materialized (as police assisted campers in packing and relocating prior to deadline), another confrontation was materializing. An event dubbed “Pack The Park!” was promoted by local activists and called for a protest gathering in Lee Park prior to and during the scheduled eviction.

By 10:00 PM, scores of protestors were in the park holding signs and participating in curse-laden chants. Sentries were posted at the park’s corners to warn of approaching law enforcement.

Shortly thereafter, the assembled group left the park and brought their rhythmic shibboleths to the Downtown Mall where startled mallgoers quickly vacated.

At approximately 10:45 PM, activists returned to the park en masse and resumed chanting provocative, police-challenging mantras. When a seemingly hoped-for conflagration failed to materialize by 11:15 PM, the activists slowly dissipated, leaving only a handful of stragglers and a few wayward tents behind.

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Rob Schilling is founder of the multi-award-winning Schilling Show Blog and News, proprietor of Schilling Show Media; host of both the Schilling Show Unleashed Podcast and WINA's The Schilling Show heard weekdays at noon; husband; father; worship leader, Christian recording artist and Community Watchdog.

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