CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) It didn’t take long for a weekend gathering of white nationalists in Charlottesville to erupt into chaos.
As attendees and counter-protesters converged near the downtown park and the crowd grew, so did the hostility. People fought openly in the streets, punching and beating one another and unleashing chemical sprays.
An Associated Press reporter and photographer witnessed the violence unfold. Neither saw a law enforcement officer step in to intervene in the brawls, though state police say they made three arrests.
Now, people on both sides and some former law enforcement officials are questioning why police didn’t do more.
Officials including the governor defended the response, saying officers had to show restraint because the crowd was so highly armed.
The city’s police chief called it “a tragic, tragic weekend.”