Charlottesville Police Reportedly ‘Stood Down’ When Violence Started – Under Whose Command? [VIDEO]

Charlottesville Police Reportedly ‘Stood Down’ When Violence Started – Under Whose Command? [VIDEO]

Violence broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia after white supremacists descended onto the tiny college town. Counter-protesters showed up to show their disapproval and the two rallies culminated in an act of violent terrorism, as a neo-Nazi white supremacist drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters and then backed it up to hit them again. Afterwards, people questioned why police didn’t do more to stop the violence before it started – only for some disturbing speculation to surface.

Police were present in Charlottesville at the onset of the protests, but did not intervene at the beginning, even as the situation became more and more chaotic. Even though people on the ground said it was clear that both groups were not planning to remain peaceful, police stood down.

“We are now beginning to hear criticism bubble up on all sides of this event about the initial slow response by the police,” reporter Doug McKelway said. “When I got out of my car yesterday in Charlottesville about 10:30 in the morning you knew this was a bad scene and bad things were going to be happening because people were congregating at Lee Park and Emancipation Park wearing helmets, body armor, carrying big heavy sticks. Nobody was intent on peace here from either side. People were intent on causing havoc and causing damage.”

A police spokesperson appeared to back up McKelway’s claim:

But police still did nothing. “And even as wounded were being brought out of the park police were sitting idly by,” McKelway said. “I was standing off a cordoned off area where the police had set up as a staging area, the state police, and they said you can come in here this is a safe area. But when the tear gas started to fly, thrown by protesters, the police themselves began to evacuate then. I asked the guy who was in charge, ‘Where are you going?’ He said, ‘We’re leaving. It’s too dangerous.’ They had a chance to nip this thing in the bud and they chose not to.”

So, why didn’t police put a stop to the violence when they had a chance to? They were reportedly given an order to stand down.

A similar situation happened in Baltimore after the Freddie Gray verdict was released — Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake reportedly told police to stand down and give “those who wished to destroy space to do that.” Did Charlottesville authorities make the same mistake?

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