There were many problems in law enforcement’s response.
By the end of August 12, dozens of counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, were injured and one was dead, killed in a grisly car attack by Nazi sympathizer James Fields. Now, a new report has found that city officials and law enforcement are to blame — at least in part — for the chaos that transpired on that day.
The report, conducted by the law firm Hunton and Williams, was commissioned by city officials after white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and Ku Klux Klan members descended onto the small Virginia town to protest the removal of Confederate statues. The situation quickly spiraled out of control, leading first to a brief clash on August 11 during an unsanctioned protest and then full-on brawls — and Fields’s deadly attack — on August 12 during the planned protests and counterprotests.
The report, which involved hundreds of interviews as well as extensive reviews of documents and video, lays the blame squarely on city officials and law enforcement.
“[T]he City of Charlottesville protected neither free expression nor public safety on August 12,” the report concludes. “The City was unable to protect the right of free expression and facilitate the permit holder’s offensive speech. This represents a failure of one of government’s core functions — the protection of fundamental rights. 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.”
The problems began before the demonstrations. The mistakes were numerous: not reaching out to other jurisdictions that dealt with similar protests for guidance, not providing adequate training, not coordinating with state police, and not including in its operation plan a means to “ensure adequate separation between conflicting Read More Here