Charlottesville Police Dept. sued for alleged ‘stand down’ order during deadly protest

The Charlottesville Police Department is being sued for issuing a stand down order during a white supremacist rally that left one woman dead.

Robert Sanchez Turner claims, in the lawsuit obtained by the Washington Times, that he was assaulted, during the Aug. 12 rally, with pepper spray, hit with canes and doused with urine while police stood 10 feet from him and did nothing.

“By commanding their subordinates to stand down while hundreds of white supremacists and their sympathizers assaulted and seriously injured counterprotesters, these defendants were essentially accessories to, and facilitators of, unconstitutional hate crime,” the lawsuit, filed in U.S District Court for the Western District of Virgina by Nexus Caridades Attorneys, claimed.

The suit alleged that two police leaders violated Turner’s 14th Amendment rights by creating the conditions that caused officers to not assist Turner during the attack.

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“Specifically, Chief Thomas ordered Charlottesville City Police to refrain from intervening in any violent confrontations between white supremacists and counterprotesters unless given a direct command to do so,” it read. “The ‘stand down’ order was so absolute that officers were ordered to restrain from intervening even upon observing hate crimes in the form of brutal physical attacks with weapons by KKK members and sympathizers against unarmed civilians.”

Chief Thomas has stated that there was no such “stand down” order and that police were “spread thin.”

Miriam Dickler, a spokeswoman for the city, declined to comment on the lawsuit but had also previously stated that no “stand down” order was given.

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