(Update from Editor: We had to un-publish Tuesday afternoon to find a better link for the 911 call. Apologies for the interruption.)
Most Americans look forward to weekends as a time to unwind, spend time with family and friends, and perhaps tackle household projects and errands. That was the case for Fredericksburg, VA resident Tara Durant one recent afternoon while out with her young daughter. Upon returning from several errands, however, she and her daughter found themselves in a threatening situation that no one should have to face alone – without any local emergency responders to assist immediately.
“We were driving on Hanover Street, when we came across where it intersected at Caroline Street (the main business district in the City of Fredericksburg), when we suddenly found our vehicle surrounded by protesters,” said Durant. In light of the recent nationwide protests highlighting the death of George Floyd, the city of Fredericksburg had also experienced nearly daily protests on its streets in recent weeks.
“We were unexpectedly in the middle of the intersection on a one-way road. All of a sudden, we were surrounded by at least fifteen to twenty people, all screaming at us. It was frightening – they clearly had the upper hand, as they saw us getting more and more upset as I am calling for help on my cell phone.
Then one of them started jumping up and down on my car and I kept screaming at him to stop. My daughter was terrified. People outside the car were yelling, ‘[expletive] you, [expletive] your child.’
Horrified and frightened by the dangerous situation unfolding around them, Durant called 911, but only to be told that the officers were told to stand down and that the protests were in fact sanctioned by the city.
“This was a horrible and unfair position to find ourselves in,“ said Durant. “You can either go slow and hope they don’t get inside your car, or go fast and deal with the consequences. The utter shock that no first responder is going to come and help is unbelievable.
There is no where to go anymore that you might get caught in a protest. This can happen anywhere, anytime, to anyone. My daughter is a victim and no one should have to feel unsafe driving home from any routine activity.