Police forces — including state police, under the control of Republican governor Bob McDonnell’s administration, wearing riot gear — arrested 31 protesters for ignoring an order to confine the demonstration to the corner of the Capitol grounds for where they had a rally permit.
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Virginia Democrats objected to the disproportionate show of force. Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax County) said the on the state senate floor “Not since the massive resistance days in the 60s have I seen such a disgraceful display of excessive police presence in my state.” Sen. Chap Petersen (D) noted that though “there was no indication that anyone was in any harm,” the police showed up dressed “for a bar brawl.”
The response from the McDonnell administration? Blame the Democrats.
I understand today, on the floor of the Senate, we witnessed something that I haven’t heard in the 21 years I’ve been up here, and that is legislators taking to the floor of the Senate of Virginia and essentially attacking our law enforcement officers for doing their job.
And his lieutenant governor, Bill Bolling (R) said the Democratic critics “owe an apology to Virginia’s law enforcement professionals.”
According to the state police, there were 19,033 violent crimes in Virginia in 2010. Perhaps they would be better off focusing on preventing those?