Conservatives have been mocked for suggesting that “Antifa” members have numbered among protesters roiling Virginia the past two months, but yesterday Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith, with Mayor Levar Stoney at his side, said the police believe that Antifa and individuals influenced by Antifa participated in the predominantly white mob action that led to vandalism, arson and assaults on police Saturday.
To be sure, Stoney contended that white supremacist “boogaloo boys” were spearheading the event with the intent of discrediting peaceful protesters, according to this Blue Virginia summary. But he did not contradict Smith’s assessment that Antifa was involved.
Smith said he believes that the flyer promoting the demonstration (displayed above) originated from outside the Richmond region, as did some of the protesters arrested during the mayhem. Richmond police are conducting an investigation into the origins of the event.
Stoney’s reaction to the event is interesting in two ways.
First, the effort to blame “boogaloo” boys for the violence is pathetic. Even if extreme right wingers did organize the event — several armed individuals in Hawaiian shirts, a trademark of the boogaloos, were reportedly seen in the crowd — they accounted for only a tiny percentage of the participants and, more importantly, the people joining them thought of themselves as left-wing anti-fascists.
The second interesting angle here is that the demonstration was comprised mainly of white militants. Indeed, Smith thanked Black Lives Matter for sharing the flyer and not participating in the event. News reports from other parts of the country indicate that leaders of Black Lives Matter are increasingly concerned that white militants are hijacking the protest movement.
Stoney denounced Saturday night’s violence in no uncertain terms, saying that it was “disgusting,” that it “takes us backwards” and that it was “unacceptable in the city of Richmond.”
It’s good to know that Stoney is taking a strong stand against white violence. I’d have more respect from if he had done something to protect Councilwoman Kim Gray, who is running against him for Richmond Mayor, when a predominantly black mob held a threatening demonstration at her house a couple of weeks back. (See previous post.) Gray says that, though Richmond police monitored the demonstration, they never showed up at her house. But if the mayor is willing to take a hard line against nihilistic white punks sowing mayhem, that’s at least something.There are currently no comments highlighted.