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 Atlantic4 min read
The Unintended Consequences of the Contraceptive Mandate
Its exclusion of men perpetuates harmful stereotypes. The most obvious one is that birth control is a woman’s responsibility.
The Atlantic8 min readSociety
The Boomers Ruined Everything
The Baby Boomers ruined America. That sounds like a hyperbolic claim, but it’s one way to state what I found as I tried to solve a riddle. American society is going through a strange set of shifts: Even as cultural values are in rapid flux, political
The Atlantic5 min readPsychology
Children Cannot Parent Other Children
Reports of babies and toddlers being left in the care of slightly older children in detention facilities at the U.S.-Mexico border reveal an ongoing atrocity.