HOW BAD WAS CHARLOTTESVILLE’S POLICING? BAD ENOUGH THAT RICHARD SPENCER AND CORNEL WEST ARE ON THE SAME PAGE ABOUT IT: Chicago Tribune: Police in Charlottesville criticized for slow response to violent demonstrations.
“The worst part is that people got hurt and the police stood by and didn’t do a godd—- thing,” said David Copper, 70, of Staunton, Va., after an initial morning melee at a park that when unchecked by police for several minutes.
Fourteen people were injured in clashes; nine others were hurt in the car crash. Later, two Virginia State Police troopers were killed when their helicopter smashed into trees at the edge of town and burst into flames. The loss of police officers only compounded the calamity on a day that pushed police, city officials and residents to their limits.
Cable news replayed a seemingly endless loop of the early violence at Emancipation Park, where police in riot gear had surrounded the expanse on three sides, though seemed to watch as groups beat each other with sticks and bludgeoned one another with shields. Many on both sides came dressed for battle, with helmets and chemical irritants.
Police appeared at one point to retreat and then watch the beatings before eventually moving in to end the free-for-all, make arrests and tend the injured. The governor declared a state of emergency around 11 a.m. and activated the National Guard.
“The whole point is to have overwhelming force so that people don’t get the idea they can do these kinds of things and get away with it,” said Charles Ramsey, who headed both the District of Columbia and Philadelphia police departments. Demonstrators and counter demonstrators “need to be in sight and sound of each other but somebody has to be in between,” he said. “That’s usually the police.”