Charlottesville and the Car-Crash Policing of a Demonstration
by Max Musson
IMAGINE FOR A MOMENT that you have just attended your first political demonstration, a demonstration that had been billed as a peaceful event, but which had ended in violent turmoil.
Picture a scene in which you form up at the designated location with your fellow demonstrators and suddenly find yourself under violent attack from counterdemonstrators dressed in riot gear, wielding baseball bats and metal poles and armed with pepper spray. Worse still, you witness one of your fellow demonstrators fall victim to an acid attack in which corrosive fluid is squirted into his eyes and he is carried away to hospital by ambulance.
Instead of defending your group, armed and heavily armoured riot police herd you out of the relative safety of the park in which you were licenced to demonstrate and force you to run the gauntlet of the violent Antifa counterdemonstrators. You get punched and kicked a few times and manage to dodge the pepper spray, but you see many of your fellow demonstrators taking direct hits from bricks and bottles flung by the mob.
You are not a seasoned demonstrator and so decide to split and at the first opportunity you break away from the demonstration and run as fast as you can to where you parked your car. Some of the Antifa see you and run after you calling on their comrades to block your exit. You manage to escape momentarily, but an armed Antifa mob are still running after you, and unluckily you turn into a crowded street that is full of Antifa.
You break momentarily but the Anifa mob are not far behind and bottles and rocks start to land on your car, the mob are calling to their comrades further down the street to close ranks and block your retreat and as you drive forward desperately looking for a way out, an individual from the sidewalk strikes the back of your car and more missiles begin to bounce off the bodywork.
You can see no way out. You are trapped in a street with an armed and violent Antifa mob in front and an armed and violent Antifa mob behind. They are baying for your blood and you know that if you stop they will wreck your car and probably drag you out and beat you badly — they will probably pepper spray you, possibly pour acid on your face — and possibly beat you to death. What would you do in that situation?
Thankfully most of us will probably never find ourselves in such a predicament where we have just seconds to make a life or death decision, but James Fields was not so lucky, and last Saturday he attempted to bulldoze his way past the cars that were blocking his exit and in doing so inadvertently bulldozed those cars into more Antifa demonstrators beyond.
The mob were then all around his car climbing on the back and smashing his car windows with their clubs. Still panicked James Fields slammed his car into reverse gear and reversed back up the street at high speed and finally managed to make his escape from the mob, but not before injuring many and causing the death of one young woman who died of heart failure at the side of the road.
It is unclear whether James Fields handed himself in to the police or whether he was apprehended by them, but according to Col Martin Kumer, the superintendent of Albemarle-Charlottesville regional jail, Fields, “Has been charged with second degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and failing to stop at an accident that resulted in a death”.
This was the incident about which Republican Senator Marco Rubio tweeted it was important to describe it as a “terror attack by white supremacists”, when clearly once all the factors at play that day are taken into consideration, it was nothing of the sort. As one would expect, the published responses from all public officials and elected politicians has echoed Marco Rubio’s clearly politically motivated assessment. All elected politicians except one that is, as President Trump alone has had the wisdom to realise that there are two sides to most stories and has condemned the violence perpetrated by both sides.
So what has led me to the reconstruction that I describe above?
If we closely observe the following video clip (Clip 1), it begins with the sound of an impact and the car driven by James Fields then accelerates down the hill. There are already Antifa running after him and calling to the others at the bottom of the hill. The impact was probably a bottle hitting the back of the car or one of the Antifa mob striking the car with a club of some sort.
As Fields approaches the Antifa crowd ahead of him, he applies his brakes as is shown in the still photograph near the top of this article.
Had Fields intended to cause as much damage as possible, had it been his intention to kill people, he would not have braked, but he did so allowing the Antifa to get out of his way.
Fields’ car is then struck from behind as the second still picture above shows, and in Clip 1 above we can hear the sounds of further impacts before Fields accelerated into the back of the silver-grey convertible and the minibus ahead of him.
Crucially, although several people were clipped by Fields’ car and knocked off their feet, no-one was crushed between Fields’ car and the silver-grey convertible. Fields braked just long enough for people to get out from in front of his car before bulldozing the cars blocking him in. The following video clip (Clip 2) shows that no-one was crushed between Fields’ car and the silver-grey convertible. This can be clearly seen at 0:31 in that video.
Immediately the cars came to rest following the impact, Antifa thugs who had been pursuing Fields down the street arrived and began smashing the windows in of his car in an attempt to get at him as the following video clip (Clip 3) shows.
It has been alleged that he reversed back over the bodies of people he had already run down, but this is not so. Fields did not actually run over anyone. Clip 3 shows that there are no people lying injured either behind or beneath Fields’ car. Several people clipped by his car and knocked off their feet are lying to the sides, but no-one directly behind. It is with the arrival of the violent Antifa thugs that Fields slams his car into reverse gear and reverses back up the street at high speed injuring some of his attackers.
All of this evidence supports the explanation of events I gave at the beginning of this article and disproves any intention on the part of Fields to commit murder.
Had Fields intended to kill people he would have continued to accelerate all the way down the hill, he would not have braked and he would have aimed his car at people not vehicles. Instead he braked and aimed at the vehicles in an effort to bulldoze them out of his way, and when that didn’t work he accelerated back up the street and fled the scene. Someone intent on murder, a terrorist, would have repeatedly reversed back and then driven forward into the crowd, again and again, causing as much injury and as many fatalities as possible, but Fields didn’t do that, he was in my view simply trying to escape.
Responsibility for the mayhem that took place in Charlottesville must lie with the police who defied a court order permitting the Unite the Right demonstration and who deliberately forced the Alt-Right demonstrators to run the gauntlet of violent Antifa mobs who were allowed to prowl the streets of Charlottesville uncontrolled.
As the Unite the Right demonstration came to an end, there would obviously be some lone demonstrators trying to make their way home and the probability of those lone demonstrators encountering one of the Antifa mobs was very high. The police place young James Fields in an invidious situation in which he had to make a life or death decision and had just two choices: to allow himself to be pulled from his car and possibly beaten to death by a violent mob; or to use his car as a battering ram and try to bulldoze his way to safety. The human instinct for self-preservation being what it is, there could only ever be one outcome and the police must now take the blame. I don’t believe that James Fields is a murderer and neither is he a terrorist. The very most he should be charged with is involuntary manslaughter as there was evidently no intention on his part to kill. The police however are a different matter, they should face charges of criminal negligence because they created the circumstances in which a tragic event such as this was likely to happen.
* * *