At the first Charlottesville City Council meeting since a white supremacy rally in the city made national headlines, all hell broke loose when incensed resides shouted down the mayor and City Council members over their bungled response to the event.
WATCH: Chaos erupts at Charlottesville, Virginia city council meeting as residents demand action after the deadly white nationalist rally pic.twitter.com/xLDSAUoyqT
— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 22, 2017
Residents were understandably furious over the fact that city officials let the “Unite the Right” rally occur in the first place. Yet it was the polices’ response to the violent demonstration – which ultimately led to the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer when a neo-Nazi plowed his car into a group of counterprotestors – that left the chamber in disarray.
At one point during the meeting, police removed three citizens who became unruly, prompting the nearly 100 attendees present to erupt into chants of “Shut it down!” and “Shame!” It was only when officials promised to release the detained residents that order was returned in the chamber.
People demand the release of ejected patrons. pic.twitter.com/0iLohwThwr
— Frances Robles (@FrancesRobles) August 21, 2017
“I’m outraged!” said resident Tracy Saxon. “I watched my people get beat and murdered. They let Nazis in here have freedom of speech, and they protect them? And we can’t have freedom of speech?”
The meeting ultimately lasted several hours as each resident was granted one minute to speak. Many of them were brought to tears as they recounted how the tragic events of last weekend have since affected their lives. The Council, for its part, unanimously voted to “drape the statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson in black in mourning,” per The New York Times.
While white supremacists and neo-Nazis, emboldened by the Trump administration, may feel entitled to promote hate and incite violence in public, a city in ruins is only a fraction of the damage left behind. And our own President has not only proven himself unwilling to denounce their disgusting ways, but tacitly encourages their abhorrent behavior.
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.