Newly released video footage from the Charlottesville demonstrations and counter-protests involving white supremacists and anti-fascist activists shows a white nationalist firing his gun in the direction of a black man while police stood by, it was learned on Saturday.
The man who was filmed firing his weapon has been arrested and charged with a crime, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which filmed the original incident and posted it on its Twitter feed.
Nonetheless, questions abound as to why the man was not arrested immediately after he discharged his weapon within earshot of about a dozen Virginia State Police troopers, who are seen standing idly by in the video.
‘We all heard it and ran – I know damn well they heard it,’ Rosia Parker, a community activist in Charlottesville, told The New York Times.
Newly released video footage from the Charlottesville demonstrations and counter-protests involving white supremacists and anti-fascist activists shows a white nationalist firing his gun in the direction of a black man while police stood by
The white nationalist seen above has been arrested and charged, according to officials
But critics said the authorities failed to act immediately after the shooting even though it was within earshot of state troopers nearby
‘We all heard it and ran – I know damn well they heard it,’ said Rosia Parker, a community activist in Charlottesville. The man is seen walking away from the scene after firing the shot
‘They never moved.’
The Times cited ‘an official familiar with the investigation’ as saying that a man was in custody.
The shooter fired a single round toward the ground in the vicinity of the black man who was holding an improvised torch.
In response to the criticism over police inaction, Charlottesville authorities insist that officers were not given a ‘stand down’ order.
It is believed that police in Charlottesville were hesitant to use force during the August 12 rally because a month earlier law enforcement came under heavy criticism for spraying tear gas and making numerous arrests at a Ku Klux Klan rally in the same town.
In total, law enforcement, which included 125 local police officers, hundreds of National Guard soldiers, state police, and cops from neighboring municipalities made just a total of eight arrests on August 12.
That was the day of the ‘Unite the Right’ rally, which brought out counter-demonstrators, one of whom, Heather Heyer, was killed when a suspected neo-Nazi, James Fields, drove his car into a crowd.
Fields has been charged with murder.
Other counter-demonstrators complained to police that they were assaulted, yet no arrests were made.
In total, law enforcement, which included 125 local police officers, hundreds of National Guard soldiers, state police, and cops from neighboring municipalities made just a total of eight arrests on August 12
Kendall, a 25-year-old woman, told the Times that she was chanting in the direction of neo-Nazis when one of them punched her in the face, giving her a bloody nose.
‘I moved quickly to the police and said: “A man attacked me! Please help me! I need your help. He’s right there!”’ she said.
‘They didn’t move a muscle. Only a few of them had the courage to make eye contact with me.’
A photographer at the scene also described a similar experience.
Eze Amos, a resident of Charlottesville who is originally from Nigeria, said he was snapping a picture of a white nationalist protester wearing an Adolf Hitler shirt.
As he was taking the picture, the nationalist punched his camera, which then ricocheted into his face.
‘This happened right in front of the cops,’ Amos told the Times.
‘I said, “Hey, this man just assaulted me!” The officer said, “Well I didn’t see it.” I told him, “Everybody just saw it!”’
The police officer took down Amos’s name.
‘I am a black man photographing this. I kept telling myself, ‘If it gets out of hand, the cops will jump in and save me,’” he said.
‘I saw a white woman get hit, and they did not do anything. That’s when I actually got really scared of the whole thing.’
Amos said that it was clear from observing the officers that day that they were given specific instructions not to intervene.
‘Somebody is not telling us what happened,’ Amos said.
‘Those cops did not just decide to fold their arms and watch this happen.’
It wasn’t just anti-fascists who criticized law enforcement.
Investigators are reportedly nearing an arrest in the assault of DeAndre Harris, a 20-year-old African-American who was viciously beaten with a metal pipe and slabs of wood in a parking garage not far from police headquarters (above)
White nationalist planners of the rally said that police reneged on understandings that had been reached weeks prior to the event, such as arrangement for ensuring safe entrance and exit to the park where the statue of Robert E. Lee stands.
‘They didn’t follow through on any part of their plan,’ an alt-right figure who goes by the name Eli Mosley told the Times.
‘They threw the whole thing away without telling us.’
‘Looking back, we think it was nefarious,’ he said.
‘The local government is very left wing, and they didn’t want anyone protesting the statue coming down.
‘I believe this was somewhat of a trap in some ways,’ he said.
‘We went there peacefully and were attacked, because we were forced to get past that gauntlet of counter-protesters.’
The city of Charlottesville is denying the accusations that it bore responsibility for the violence that ensued.
It has so far resisted calls to publicize their action plans from that day, saying that it is possible they will use the same plans in the future.
The Times also reported Saturday that investigators are nearing an arrest in the assault of DeAndre Harris, a 20-year-old African-American who was viciously beaten with a metal pipe and slabs of wood in a parking garage not far from police headquarters.