Charlottesville, Virginia: 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 death 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, Virginia, after a melee at a park that went unchecked for some time.
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.