- The Washington Times - Monday, August 21, 2017

Katie Couric says two of her producers were doused with a “concoction of human urine and mud” while covering the unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The University of Virginia alum revealed the troubling incident in an op-ed for National Geographic, titled, “Being in Charlottesville Broke My Heart. It Also Filled Me With Hope.”

Ms. Couric and her team spent three days covering the far-right “Unite the Right” protests, which turned deadly on Aug. 12 after a reported Nazi sympathizer purposely rammed his car into a group of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring more than a dozen others.

Hours before the attack, Ms. Couric said two of her producers were observing clashes between far-right protesters and so-called anti-fascist protesters when they were pelted with human urine by an unknown perpetrator.

“Observing the rising battle of protest chants, two of my producers were standing on an elevated edge of the park when suddenly they were doused with a concoction of human urine and mud,” the journalist wrote. “It was thrown into the air over the crowd from what they think was a water bottle. They’re still unsure who threw it and who exactly was targeted.

“Around the same time, a large and violent brawl broke out near the corner of East Market and 2nd Street. Standing on the hillside at the entrance to the park, we looked out over the sea of people struggling to take cover,” she wrote. “We saw projectiles being thrown back and forth, including bottles and brown colored balloons (which another reporter told me were filled with feces).”

Ms. Couric said she was sitting in a cafe just south of Emancipation Park, speaking with philosopher and activist Cornel West, when James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old man from Ohio, allegedly rammed his car into a crowd, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.

“We ran four blocks east, passing an armored vehicle and threading our way amid ambulances to find paramedics and people being carried away on stretchers. I remember watching in horror as a woman received chest compressions as she was being taken away,” she wrote.

On Sunday, “we had reviewed our footage only to realize the morning before we had been standing just feet away from James Fields, the 20-year-old Nazi-sympathizer from Ohio and the suspect who was charged with second-degree murder in connection with Heyer’s death,” she wrote. “The events of Saturday also took the lives of two Virginia State Police troopers whose helicopter crashed when they were called in to assist law enforcement.”

Ms. Couric said she was horrified by the intense hatred she saw in Charlottesville, but also filled with hope by the “kindness, compassion and generosity” exhibited by certain groups and at the scene of the crash.

“Amid the sound and the fury, I saw Muslim, Jewish, black, and white protestors with arms linked forming a human chain,” she wrote. “At the scene of the accident I saw strangers comforting relatives of the injured with a fierce compassion — as though they were family members. I saw pastors and pedestrians running toward a scene of chaos not knowing what else was about to happen but determined to help.

“That day Charlottesville stood up against hate, white supremacy, racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and misogynistic rhetoric and said: this is not the world we live in or want to be a part of,” she concluded. “Hate will surface again, we know; but so will its enemies. Just as they did on that muggy Saturday in August in Charlottesville, Virginia.”

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