Charlottesville was a disaster, in even the most generous of terms. Now there’s a lawsuit that’s just as tragic as the events of the day.
From the Washington Times:
According to the federal lawsuit, Robert Sanchez Turner was sprayed in the eye with pepper spray and beaten with canes, and had urine thrown on him during the Aug. 12 rally in Charlottesville, as police officers stood less than 10 feet away and did nothing to stop the assault or arrest the assailants.
“By commanding their subordinates to stand down while hundreds of white supremacists and their sympathizers assaulted and seriously injured counter-protesters, these defendants were essentially accessories to, and facilitators of, unconstitutional hate crime,” states the lawsuit, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia by Nexus Caridades Attorneys. More details of the case are expected to be released, soon.
As it is now, the lawsuit alleges that there was supervisory liability, specifically naming Charlotte Police Chief Al Thomas and Virginia State Police Superintendent W. Steven Flaherty.
It alleges that the two police leaders violated Mr. Turner’s 14th Amendment rights by creating a scenario under which officers failed to intervene in a state-created danger.
“Specifically, Chief Thomas ordered Charlottesville City Police to refrain from intervening in any violent confrontations between white supremacists and counterprotesters unless given a direct command to do so,” the lawsuit states. “The ‘stand down’ order was so absolute that officers were ordered to restrain from intervening even upon observing hate crimes in the form of brutal physical attacks with weapons by KKK members and sympathizers against unarmed civilians.”
In response, Chief Thomas denies there was a stand down order and insists his officers were simply spread thin after a failure on the part of those there for the rally to stick to an agreed upon plan on how to enter the park. Police were forced to move in and shut down the rally after fights broke out.
Charlottesville police came under criticism after the event when videos emerged that appeared to show officers standing by while fights broke out between rally attendees and protesters. A number of arrests were later made after police were able to identify people in some of the videos.
Mr. Turner’s lawsuit, which seeks unspecified monetary damages, states that video evidence and witness testimony support the claims that a stand down order was issued.
Charlottesville spokeswoman Miriam Dickler and Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller have both declined to speak about the lawsuit, with Dickler choosing to simply deny there was any stand down order.
Nineteen people were injured and one woman was killed in Charlottesville, when a white nationalist rammed his car down a street crowded with counter-protesters.