During the Unite the Right rally that was held in Charlottesville, VA in August, various blames were placed on different groups of people regarding the civil unrest that broke out during the city. Some accused the right-wing side of the rally of supporting a violent cause, and others accused the leftist counter-protestors who arrived at the scene with weapons. A few however, have claimed that the true blame lies at the feet of city officials and local law enforcement.
Shortly after the rally, Scott Greer, an editor at The Daily Caller, stated in an interview with American Greatness, “It’s still unclear at this moment why police had such a muted presence. There are several reports showing that the police were not allowed to make arrests until they were ordered to do so, they weren’t allowed to step in unless the authorities said so… The authorities, both the Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe, who was in charge of the state police, and the Democratic Mayor Michael Signer all have not really explained adequately why police weren’t actively engaged in the protest.”
Countless tweets and public concern regarding the lack of aid provided and order enforced by police officers at the seen could be seen during and after the rally. The white nationalist leader and figurehead Richard Spencer, founder of the National Policy Institute, was reported to have expressed his displeasure with the lack of police involvement in the rally. Additional voices, including 70-year-old local David Copper, claimed that “people got hurt, and the police stood by and didn’t do a godd*mn thing.”
In accordance with the above concerns over the lack of involvement by officials during the Charlottesville rally, a preliminary action report was released to the public on October 26th by the Governor’s Civil Unrest Task Force. According to NBC, The task force is comprised of first responders from around Virginia, elected officials, but no one from Charlottesville
The preliminary report [pdf] was presented to the Governor’s Civil Unrest Task Force in Richmond Thursday, October 26. The task force is comprised of first responders from around Virginia, elected officials, but no one from Charlottesville.
According to the report, city leaders did not take recommendations ahead of white activist Jason Kessler’s Unite the Right rally. Additionally, the report said Charlottesville had an inadequate permit process. The city was taken to court after it tried to make changes to Kessler’s permit just a few days before the rally.
International Chiefs of Police Director Jim W. Baker says we are seeing a new era of protests that involve weapons, shields and a desire to cause harm. He said Charlottesville leaders knew this before protesters and counterprotesters clashed in and around Emancipation Park. Baker said the park was too small, noting that authorities tried to have it moved to McIntire Park, and the city was warned about extreme violence, including a potential car attack. Police have charged James Alex Fields with second-degree murder, hit-and-run, and multiple counts of malicious wounding after he apparently drove into a crowd in the area of 4th Street.”
What is the oddest part of the report is that authorities were warned that a potential car attack before the rally occurred, insinuating that the second-degree murder charges provided against James Fields was, in fact, premeditated. Nevertheless, the official blame for the acts of violence that ensued in Charlottesville were primarily the fault of Charlottesville’s public officials and law enforcement.