Officials with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis issued a warning to local police and other authorities in Charlottesville, Va., three days before a rally there earlier this month turned violent and deadly. According to the memo, DHS intelligence officials believed the Aug. 12 event would be “among the most violent to date” between anarchists and neo-Nazis after a series of clashes at previous events had been escalating.
In a “law enforcement sensitive” assessment, DHS officials raised questions about whether city police in Charlottesville and Virginia state police dropped the ball before and during a public event that officials knew was going to draw massive crowds of people who were armed, very emotional, and antagonistic.
The DHS report, dated Aug. 9, was done in conjunction with local, state, and federal authorities at the Virginia Fusion Center. Analysts said that white supremacists and “Antifa” Alt-Left factions had twice before clashed prior to the Charlottesville event — once at a white nationalist rally on May 13 and again at a KKK gathering on July 7. On both occasions, “anarchist extremists” turned violent against protesters who, on both occasions and again in Charlottesville, had been issued permits to stage rallies. “Anarchist extremists and white supremacist extremists online are calling on supporters to be prepared for or to instigate violence at the 12 August rally,” the DHS assessment noted.
Why it’s on our radar: While political unrest is not new to America, the level of violence we’re seeing associated with it is not something most of us have witnessed before. The 1960s were indeed turbulent, and early America was beset with political violence as the country grew and political factions clashed.
However, there are distinct differences this time around.
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