Judge under fire for allowing Charlottesville rally despite city officials’ warnings

With the blame-game for the Charlottesville violence fueling a lot of finger-pointing, anger has turned to the federal judge who ruled in favor of allowing the rally to take place despite the warning signs.

U.S. District Judge Glen Conrad has drawn fire for his decision to allow the white nationalist rally to take place in a small town park in the Virginia city over city officials’ objections to the location.

Citing safety concerns, Charlottesville ordered the rally, organized to protest the city’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park, to be moved to a larger location. The “Unite The Right” rally organizer, Jason Kessler, teamed up with the ACLU to fight the change in court and Conrad granted the injunction.

While arguably, Conrad could not have predicted that the event would spiral into an outbreak of violence that left three people dead, many, like Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer are upset with his disregard for the evidence.

Although the city did not attempt to cancel the rally, only to move it due to the expected crowd size, there were other facts that backed their concerns. Law enforcement officials indicated that crowd sizes would be significantly larger than the 400 people Kessler estimated in his permit request. Police also believed rally-goers could be armed.

“The person I blame here is the federal judge who allowed this protest to take place in a small urban park when the city urged the judge to move it to a larger venue so that police could better control the situation,” Fox News Channel’s Gregg Jarrett said.

“The judge would have none of these warnings,” Jarrett said. “He called it purely speculative.”

While there was some debate that the judge was upholding Kessler’s free speech rights by allowing the rally to continue at the site, others appeared to agree that since the city was only looking to move the event, the judge’s decision was an underlying factor in the ensuing violence.

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