The public was quick to point out that police were slow to act in the violent and nearly deadly incident.
Video of the incident, showing Richard Wilson Preston fire a gun in the direction of a Black man while police stood by, prompted outcry from counter-protesters that cops were slow to act in a situation that could have ended with a fatality.
Preston, 52, was arrested after the video from the August 12 incident went viral. Preston was arguing with a Black man in the video who then turned and walked away. Preston is seen yelling ‘Hey, n****r,’ before firing the gun.
Preston simply walked away after firing the gun by a line of several police troopers who stood several feet away. The police did not appear to respond to the shooting. Community activist Rosia Parker said the police did not move.
“We all heard it and ran. I know damn well they heard it. They never moved.”
Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said the troopers were unaware of the incident.
“From where they were standing, none was witness to the incident. Nor did they hear the single shot being fired because it was muffled by the loud volume of the crowd yelling and chanting, drums and music. Had any one of our troopers witnessed that incident, they would have immediately acted just as they did for the other four arrests made during the weekend."
Preston remains in custody at the Baltimore County Detention Center. He was charged with a discharging a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.
Anti-racism protester Heather Heyer was killed at the violent rally when James Alex Fields, Jr. plowed through a crowd of protestors. Fields is charged with second-degree murder, malicious wounding and failure to stop in an accident that resulted in death.