By Ed Fletcher
Nevada City residents and elected leaders are searching for answers after a Black Lives Matter protest on Sunday turned violent.
There are also questions about whether police officers on the scene failed to take action.
City councilman Doug Fleming said while the town is mostly white, it has attracted eclectics over the decades and is seen as the “Berkeley of the Sierras.” But that was not what was on display when a group of counter-protesters carrying “Thin Blue Line” and U.S. flags clashed with youthful protesters.
“To have violence perpetrated on young folks who are just simply exercising their constitutional right to assembly and free speech, to have that thwarted in such a violent manner, it was just shocking to everybody,” Fleming said.
City police investigation into whether any counter-protesters broke the law is underway, according to Fleming and a department press release.
But Fleming also said there is a question whether the police at the scene should have taken more aggressive action to stop the counter-protesters, who appear on video to strike Black Lives Matter demonstrators and rip signs from their hands.
“We need to make sure that people are held accountable for crimes committed. If people weren't doing their job, that has to be investigated as well,” Fleming said.
Fleming, who won election with the endorsement of law enforcement, said he supports properly funding the police but took issue with those allegedly acting in defense of the police.
“They were hiding behind their support for the police. But they have nothing to do with supporting the police,” he said.
Fleming said the City Council will meet Friday evening at 5 p.m. to discuss demonstration and police investigation.
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