'Blood on Your Hands!': Charlottesville Council Meeting Devolves Into Chaos


City councilors in Charlottesville, Virginia, voted unanimously on Tuesday to cover two statues of Confederate war heroes in black fabric after ejecting spectators from a chaotic council meeting as residents demanded answers over how a recent white nationalist rally turned deadly. The chamber erupted, and when police officers forcibly removed three people, the 100 or so at the meeting broke out into furious chants of "Shame" and 'Shut it down!' The three people were issued summonses charging them with disorderly conduct.

It took about a half-hour for order to be restored, and the meeting stretched for several hours, as speaker after speaker spoke about their anguish over what the community had experienced.

The meeting ended with the council voting to move forward on removing the statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. After talking with members of the crowd, Councilor Wes Bellamy said the council would drop the agenda for the night and instead focus on the crowd's concerns.

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"You had multiple opportunities to intervene and you did not intervene one time", said one unidentified man as quoted by local station NBC 29. But Thomas has also blamed rally attendees for not following plans that had been agreed upon before the rally, and he said that violent confrontations were the result of "mutually engaged attacks" fueled by "mutually combative individuals". It was the first council meeting since the August 12 rally, when a vehicle plowed into a group of counter-protesters and killed a 32-year-old woman.

Fields, who has been charged with second-degree murder and other crimes, has been ordered held without bond pending an August 25 hearing.