By Peter Hermann, Joe Heim and Ellie Silverman, The Washington Post
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Police in Charlottesville, Virginia, came under criticism for failing to keep apart warring white nationalists and counter-protesters who battled it out in the city streets on Saturday amid what at first seemed an anemic response from authorities.
Anger over the how police responded came from all directions and intensified after the deaths of a woman struck by a car that plowed into a group of counter protesters. Experts said police appeared outnumbered, ill-prepared and inexperienced.
“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 …read more
Source:: The Denver Post – World