The ACLU of Virgina shared the video on Twitter. In it, a white man yells a racial slur before firing a gun at the ground near a black counter-protester, then walks away amid a sea of protesters. A line of police stand behind metal barricades about ten feet from the incident.
After authorities were alerted to the video, they arrested 52-year-old Richard Wilson Preston, and charged him with discharging a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school. Two weeks later.
A spokesperson for the Virginia State Police claimed that the officers didn't hear the gunshot over "the loud volume of the crowd yelling and chanting, drums and music," and insisted that "had any one of our troopers witnessed that incident they would have immediately acted just as they did for the other four arrests made during the weekend."
A witness contradicts that story. Rosia Parker, one of the counter-protesters, told the New York Times, "We all heard it and ran—I know damn well they heard it. They never moved."
According to the Times: "Another video shows that the gunshot was clearly audible even from inside the park, where dozens more state police troopers were posted."
The cops watched him from around twenty feet away, and did nothing, according to article. That isn't lack of training. It's a lack of caring— Jim jones (@Jimjones0384) August 27, 2017
Not good enough. That animal opened fire into a crowd, the police should have put him down on the spot.— nicholas dormihal (@blackheart24601) August 26, 2017
Every single officer near this incident must be fired IMMEDIATELY. Not suspended. Fired.— Isa-Lee Wolf (@IsaLeeWolf) August 27, 2017
Protesting is the right of every American. Once a weapon is brought, the act is no longer a protest. It is an act of terrorism.— Bishop (@LBishop360) August 27, 2017
Had he been a black 9 year old with a water pistol, he would have been summarily executed by police on the spot.— Tafkak (@tafkak) August 27, 2017
Now Imagine that was a black,Mexican or a muslim person shooting he be dead on the spot— shan (@shanuddin89) August 27, 2017