Originally posted at VDARE
In the heat of anger, the very day the Unite The Right [UTR] rally against Confederate statue vandalism in Charlottesville, Virginia fell apart in blood and teargas, I accused the Charlottesville Police Department not just with allowing Antifa Leftist paramilitaries to attack Alt Right protestors, but also with attacking protestors themselves by using tear gas to force them into the hands of Antifa. Police prevented the Alt Right from defending itself. They deliberately funneled protestors into a hateful mob of anti-white lunatics, as if trying to get them killed. Then, even though such speculation perhaps appeared paranoid, I argued police had deliberately given Antifa control of the streets while simultaneously threatening the Alt Right with arrest. As a result, all of Charlottesville turned into a swirling chaos, which culminated in a fatality.
An “Independent Review Of The 2017 Protest Events In Charlottesville, Virginia,” by a team headed by Timothy J. Heaphy of the Richmond VA law firm Hunton & Williams commissioned by the Charlottesville city government, has just been released. The results are utterly damning. No accusation leveled on August 12 even approached the actual conduct of the Charlottesville Police Department. The only question: whether incompetence or malevolence was the greater factor.
The Heaphy Report raises major issues about the future of free speech in the United States, the influence of Leftist radicalism within government, and the politicization of law enforcement. But, as lawsuits are already pending, the specific events, decisions, and tactical police deployments highlighted in the Heaphy Report are likely to draw the most attention in the immediate future.
The smoking gun: the Heaphy report’s finding that the police never intended to separate the two sides, prevent violence, or allow the demonstration to take place. Instead, the Charlottesville Police wanted violence, which could then be used as an excuse to break up the demonstration.
“Rather than engage the crowd and prevent fights, the CPD plan was to declare the event unlawful and disperse the crowd,” the Heaphy Report reads. “The Operational Plan outlined the steps by which an unlawful assembly could be declared.”
The intent: to use bullhorns to disperse the crowd, and, if that didn’t work, send in the Virginia State Police in riot gear.
Even the local Main Stream Media, hardly supporters of Unite The Right, recognized this finding as a bombshell. As an editorial in the Waynesboro News-Virginian put it:
When violence broke out, officers hung back rather than intervene. Many have suspected they received stand-down order. The review, by former federal prosecutor Tim Heaphy, found that such an order was, in effect, given. Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas even said, “let them fight, it will make it easier to declare an unlawful assembly.” [VDARE.com note: Thomas is Charlottesville’s “first black” police chief.]
Let them fight? This sounds like something a prison warden or African warlordmight say. Not the chief of police of a college town like Charlottesville.
Thomas comes off especially bad in the report, which says he tried to obstruct the investigation, deleted relevant text messages, tried to hide his use of a personal email account for police business, and even created planning checklists that were not actually used for the event. Several of the officers interviewed for the report said they were worried Thomas would retaliate.
Using fights as an excuse to shut down the demonstrators would mean not only that the speech of demonstrators on both sides were cut short, but that government officials cut them short deliberately.
[Editorial: A Damning Report, December 1, 2017]. Emphases added.
The main conflicts that supposedly triggered the declaration of the unlawful assembly: violence on Market Street, as “clergy” (actually the Leftists activists who now infest many Christian denominations) insisted on blocking the road and making sure demonstrators couldn’t enter the park.
The Heaphy Report finds there was a consistent pattern:
As the Unite The Right groups approached Emancipation Park, counter-protesters shouted “here they come” and formed blockades. The demonstrators [Unite The Right] then used shields, flags, or fists to start skirmishes, all of which were eventually broken up by pepper spray. The crowd would then part and allow them entry into the park. That scenario played out at least half a dozen times.
But from my point of view as an eyewitness, this isn’t quite right. The “clergy,” who clearly approved of violence from their side, served as cover for the Antifa within their own ranks. UTR attendees were forced to walk through a line of Antifa, who cursed, spat, threw things and used lengthy weapons such as clubs.
The only safety that existed was provided by the Alt Right itself—the “shield wall” that prevented Antifa from simply swarming the park. These Alt Right activists, who undoubtedly saved lives that day, were the only force creating a “separation” between their side and Antifa—precisely what the Charlottesville Police Department should have been doing.
Antifa attackers typically attempted group attacks on isolated individuals or struck out from behind the line of the “peaceful” anti-white demonstrators who were giving them cover; they didn’t dare attack prepared defenders. But, as with immigration, a wall creates a sense of order. In short, it was precisely the group most stigmatized by the MSM, the armored Alt Righters with shields, who created what order existed.
What the Heaphy Report only hints at: how utterly unnecessary this violence was at all. The Report points out that Alt Right groups were in communication with local officials, while Antifa, whose only goal was violent repression, refused all contacts.
I have spoken personally to the leaders of the main “Hard Right” column of hundreds of Alt Right activists which broke the clergy/Antifa blockade and entered the park. I know that law enforcement was perfectly aware of where these Alt Right activists were parking, what route they were taking, and what their intentions were. Guarding or having any kind of a presence along that path would have been perfectly sufficient to maintain order.
Charlottesville law enforcement was also aware of Alt Right demonstrators (such as myself) being shuttled by vans in a highly coordinated fashion to an area of Market Street. As Sam Dickson pointed out, most people didn’t come in their own cars, because Antifa would vandalize them.
From there, we walked into the park. Again, we were forced by the police to walk through violent protesters, with police doing nothing. And the decision to allow this was deliberate.
The Heaphy report reads:
Sergeant Newberry told us [the Heaphy Report’s authors] that when he passed the shuttle information up to his supervisors, he also suggested that they consider posting law enforcement officers along Market Street between the putative drop-off spot and Emancipation Park. Newberry does not recall receiving a substantive response to his idea other than that the command staff “needed to think about it.” The planning documents do not show any revisions implementing Newberry’s suggestion. Relatedly, Lieutenant Jim Mooney, told us that during the July 8 zone commanders debriefing, Chief Thomas said, in reference to August 12, “I’m not going to get them in and out.” [Emphases added].
Only weeks before, a much smaller Ku Klux Klan rally (which the Heaphy Report notes was actually condemned by Unite The Right organizer Jason Kessler) had taken place largely though not entirely without incident. The Heaphy Report covers this event as well—and credits the spontaneous decision of law enforcement to park Klan members in a specific garage and create a path of entry and exit as “necessary” steps.
Given this experience, why wouldn’t the Charlottesville Police Department actually plan for similar actions on August 12—especially when event organizers were communicating their intentions?
Even with no input from Alt Right leaders, the Charlottesville police could have simply declared what routes demonstrators and counter-demonstrators were to take, and arrested those who disobeyed. This is precisely what police in other cities have done to ensure peaceful demonstrations.
But the Charlottesville Police Department (and/or its political masters) didn’t want a peaceful demonstration. Unforgivably, even after they got what they wanted and broke up Unite The Right rally, Charlottesville police deliberately drove Alt Right demonstrations out of Lee Park and into the ranks of Antifa, guaranteeing violence even after police had achieved their objective of breaking up the demonstration.
This part of the report is difficult to read:
Much like the plan for entry to Emancipation [Lee] Park, the dispersal of crowds following the unlawful-assembly declaration did not ensure separation between conflicting groups. Rather, the mobile field force units pushed the Unite The Right protesters right back onto Market Street, where a larger group of counter-protesters were waiting for them… [one officer] noted the Alt Right demonstrators were screaming at the VSP and CPD officers as the mobile field force pushed from the rear of Emancipation Park, commenting that ”you are pushing us right into the crowd.” [The officer] agreed with this assessment, nothing that the effort was “causing confrontations and pushing [the Alt-Right] right into their enemies.”
Speaking just for myself, this was the moment when I was convinced I was going to have to fight for my life.
The excuse for not sending in police to clear the streets: officers would be sent into a “deadly force” situation. But this is an implicit admission both that officers knew it was Antifa who were posing the violent threat—and that officers had decided it was ok if Alt Right demonstrators were subjected to that threat.
Militia groups—armed but neutral organizations like the Pennsylvania Light Foot Militia who came with the stated purpose of guaranteeing order—were in a similar situation.[ Militiamen came to Charlottesville as neutral First Amendment protectors, commander says, By Paul Duggan August 13, 2017] What the Heaphy Report calls “Counter-protesters” i.e. Leftist rioters prevented the armed militia members (whose conduct was actually praised by one officer in the report) from leaving. The Report confirms rocks were thrown at them. Significantly, militia members were prevented from getting to their cars in some cases, and those who did make it to their vehicles had their cars attacked.
This is obviously relevant to the hit-and-run incident involving James Fields and Heather Heyer. The hit-and-run occurred in a context when cars were being smashed and attacked by rampaging Antifa. A Charlottesville woman “school resource officer” had actually been positioned in the location where the hit-and-run took place, but she became frightened for her safety (she was armed only with pepper spray) was relieved of her post, and not replaced.
Thus, when the most notorious event of the day took place, Charlottesville law enforcement was nowhere to be found.
None of this was inevitable. None of this was even unpredictable. Instead, Charlottesville police deliberately and consciously created an environment where Antifa would be free to attack Alt Right demonstrators, thus providing an excuse to shut down a rally they (and/or their political masters) never wanted to allow anyway.
Massive litigation, from both Alt Righters and, for example, Heather Heyer’s family, needs to result now that these facts have been presented before the entire world. Charlottesville’s liability is enormous.
If it this does not happen, then let no one say the First Amendment still exists, that America is still a free country—or that white Americans don’t live under a system of tyranny as absolute as any that existed under the Eastern Bloc.