Caleb posted earlier that Charlottesville had declared the “Unite the [Fringe] Right” Rally an unlawful assembly. Now Democrat Governor Terry McAuliffe has declared a state emergency:
Governor McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency to aid state response to violence at Alt-Right rally in Charlottesville
— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) August 12, 2017
This decision frees up the state police and state National Guard to respond, as NBC News reports:
State police and members of the Virginia National Guard surrounded the park after McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and the city of Charlottesville declared the alt-right protest an unlawful assembly — effectively cancelling the demonstration before its planned start time.
McAuliffe included in his statement a denunciation of hatred and bigotry as well as a reference to violence:
“It is now clear that public safety cannot be safeguarded without additional powers, and that the mostly out-of-state protesters have come to Virginia to endanger our citizens and property,” McAuliffe said in a statement released shortly before noon. “I am disgusted by the hatred, bigotry and violence these protesters have brought to our state over the past 24 hours.”
The reference to hatred and bigotry is dumb, because it will give the fringe right rally attendees an argument that police were called to cancel their rally in part for political reasons. That is unfortuate because, as Andrea Ruth and Caleb Howe just posted, there has been an apparent deliberate attempt to run down anti-racist protestors with a car. (As always, breaking stories are often wrong, so take everything with a grain of salt.) There may well be legitimate and viewpoint-neutral reasons to take action. Muddying up the message with a governmental denunciation of the ralliers’ message, however hateful it may actually be, is not wise.
But nobody ever said Terry McAuliffe was wise.