Why Are Police Standing Down at Violence-Prone Rallies?
The ACLU, CNN, the New York Times, and most importantly, protesters who were actually present in Charlottesville and other rallies are asking questions which used to be mocked as "conspiracy theories." After a textbook demonstration in Boston of how to keep possibly antagonistic sides apart, in order to keep the peace, the world is asking, as is a lawsuit against Charlottesville, why police in that city seemed to be not only not stopping confrontations, but encouraging them.
Hawk Newsome, president of Black Lives Matter of New York, told CNN the affiliate WCAV:
"The police actually allowed us to square off against each other...There were fights and the police were standing a block away the entire time. It's almost as if they wanted us to fight each other."
The New York Times reported that witnesses said police pointedly ignored a gunshot during the fracas in Charlottesville. Rosia Parker, a community activist, told the Times:
“We all heard it and ran — I know damn well they heard it...They never moved.”
The Times reported that a 25-year-old woman named Kendall said she had been chanting at the white-power protesters when one of them punched her in the nose.
The woman told the Times:
“I moved quickly to the police and said: ‘A man attacked me! Please help me! I need your help. He’s right there!'...They didn’t move a muscle. Only a few of them had the courage to make eye contact with me.”
Joining in the criticism is the ACLU. On it's website, ACLU of Virginia’s Executive Director Claire Gastanaga wrote:
"The policing on Saturday was not effective in preventing violence. I was there and brought concerns directly to the secretary of public safety and the head of the Virginia State Police about the way that the barricades in the park limiting access by the arriving demonstrators and the lack of any physical separation of the protesters and counter-protesters on the street were contributing to the potential of violence. They did not respond. In fact, law enforcement was standing passively by, seeming to be waiting for violence to take place..."
Gastanaga noted that at a previous KKK rally with counter-protesters present, police placed barricades and themselves between the assembled groups, resulting in effective separation and prevention of violence. In other words, it's not as if the police do not know how to head off violence. In Charlottesville, they just didn't.
And in San Francisco last Saturday, the anti-white supremacist but conservative group Patriot Prayer was forced to cancel a scheduled rally after, according to organizers, the city government and city police withdrew their plan to keep the sides separated. Fearing violence in which many "innocent people would be hurt," Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson cancelled the rally.
Violence was feared because Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, a former Speaker of the House, labeled Patriot Prayer, in a widely reported press release as a "white supremacists," "hate" group. In turn, the characterization was guaranteed to attract the presence of a black-clad, masked group calling itself Antifa for "anti-fascists," although many have called the name misplaced, and said it is the group which acts in a fascist manner.
The masked group violently attacks anyone expressing views which it deems "alt-right" or "far-right," even though Patriot Prayer has repeatedly, specifically denounced white supremacism, racism,and Nazism. The founder, Joey Gibson, has also rejected anti-Muslim Islamophobia.
In Boston, rally organizers also specifically denounced white supremacists and other racist ideologies, but nevertheless were so labeled by the media.
As described by the Anti-Defamation League, however, "alt-right" thought includes believing that Seth Rich was murdered by the DNC, or that there is a highly placed paedophile ring operating out of Washington, DC, frequently referred to as "Pizzagate."
In Berkeley, on the day after the cancelled rally, Gibson literally had to run for his life as the masked group "Antifa" chased him (video below.)
Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson chased by "Antifa" in Berkeley
Some believe that current events such as these reflect a deliberate strategy to provoke violence in the streets by power-brokers seeking an excuse to crack down on civil liberties. In Charlottesville, a photographer from Nigeria, Eze Amos, told the New York Times he and others believe there was a deliberate stand-down order. Amos told the Times:
“Somebody is not telling us what happened...Those cops did not just decide to fold their arms and watch this happen.”
In Berkeley, as Gibson crashed through a police line escaping the black-clad, mask-wearing mob chasing him with clubs, the police could be seen standing doing nothing to arrest the attackers.
Patriot Prayer is scheduled to hold a Freedom March in Portland, Oregon on September 10th. Patriot Prayer describes its mission as an effort to "unite moderates" who lean both conservative and liberal, reject "extremists" of both the left and the right, and to restore civility and "respect" in political dialogue.