Did the police stand down?

On the scene in Charlottesville, New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg noted on Twitter: ew York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg was on the scene yesterday. On Saturday she wrapped up her observations on Twitter: “The hard left seemed as hate-filled as alt-right. I saw club-wielding ‘antifa’ beating white nationalists being led out of the park” (below).

In this morning’s story on what went down in Charlottesville on Saturday, Stolberg turns to ministerial trainee Brittany Caine-Conley, “a protester at the alt-right rally” (as Stolberg puts it): “There was no police presence. We were watching people punch each other; people were bleeding all the while police were inside of barricades at the park, watching. It was essentially just brawling on the street and community members trying to protect each other.”

At the Daily Caller, Scott Greer rounds up the troubling reportage on this issue including Stolberg’s. He serves up this mind-boggling quote from Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe on the day after (it appears in filtered form in Stolberg’s story):

McAuliffe was asked about the criticism of law enforcement’s inaction Sunday, to which he offered an odd response — he blamed the presence of armed militia for why police didn’t do more. “They had better equipment than our State Police had,” the governor said of why police stayed put and watched the violence unfold.

But, according to ProPublica, the militia members seemed to be the only ones breaking up fights and trying to keep the peace in the tumult.

It would have probably been more effective in suppressing the violence if the men and women paid to keep the peace for a living were out in the mix.

The ProPublica report cited by Greer is “Police stood by as mayhem mounted in Charlottesville.”

By contrast, Stolberg quotes Corinne Geller speaking on behalf of the State Police. “It may have looked like a lot of our folks were standing around,” because of the sheer number of officers on the scene, but “there were other troopers and law enforcement officers who were responding to incidents as they arose.” Can this quote be squared with McAuliffe’s?

Glenn Reynolds infers that the police were ordered to stand down. He wants to know “who ordered the police to stand down in the face of mob violence, and why. A decision to allow citizens to be assaulted in the exercise of their constitutional rights is a federal felony.”

Responses

Books to read from Power Line