The Atlantic

Could Police Have Prevented Bloodshed in Charlottesville?

Neo-Nazis and counter-protesters alike think that local and state police should have done a better job keeping violence from breaking out over the weekend.
Source: Justin Ide / Reuters

Speaking after violent protests tore through Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend, Governor Terry McAuliffe lamented that some things were out of the control of police.

“You can’t stop some crazy guy who came here from Ohio and used his car as a weapon,” McAuliffe told The New York Times. “He is a terrorist.”

The prime culprits for the death of a woman in a car crash—as well as other crimes, including the beating of a young black man—are, of course, the apparent neo-Nazis and white supremacists who perpetrated those crimes. But the job of the Charlottesville police and Virginia State Police was to prevent violence like this, and some observers, including both white supremacists and counter-protesters, are charging that law enforcement didn’t do enough to avoid bloodshed.

“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

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic24 min readPolitics
The 2020 U.S. Presidential Race: A Cheat Sheet
If Mark Sanford runs against Donald Trump, he’s doomed—for reasons that have nothing to do with the Appalachian Trail.
The Atlantic4 min readPolitics
House Insurrections Are Here to Stay
There’s nothing new about a speaker managing dissent. And these fights are likely to intensify.
The Atlantic4 min readSociety
The Suffragists Who Opposed Birth Control
Editor’s Note: Read more stories in our series about women and political power. You would think suffragists, those corset-clad beacons of girl power, would support women’s right to have sex for pleasure. You’d be, for the most part, wrong. Mainstrea