WASHINGTON — Metro’s largest union and members of the D.C. Council are outraged that Metro and D.C. police provided Unite the Right 2 participants with what they describe as a private metro car to get to Sunday’s rally.
“The special accommodation for a hate rally in Washington D.C. was dishonest, unprecedented, and not a reflection of the principles of ATU Local 689 or ‘DC Values,’” Jackie Jeter, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, told The Washington Post.
I stand with District residents today in opposition to the fascism & racism that has invaded our city. I am deeply concerned by the allegations that WMATA may have provided private transportation to these racists & I will be demanding answers.
— Robert C. White, Jr. (@RobertWhite_DC) August 12, 2018
Police temporarily blocked people from entering the Vienna Metro station as Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler and others arrived at the station around 2 p.m. The group boarded one car and the only other passengers let on board with them were reporters who say police directed others to ride on different cars.
Less than a week before the rally, Metro stated that it would not reserve a “special train” for the white nationalist group.
Giving white supremacists & hate groups a private Metro railcar is so unbelievably wrong & disgraceful. Beyond the horrible precedent it sets, what does it tell the riding public & operators? Plus, it’s the exact opposite of what @WMATA said they’d do. https://t.co/GSw6lIXjfH
— Charles Allen (@charlesallen) August 12, 2018
“They went on Twitter and they said no. They went on the news and said no, and then Jack Evans said no. I can tell you that the mood of the employees, they’re disgusted,” said Jeter.
Evans is a Metro Board Chairman and a D.C. Councilmember.
“They brought in extra help, station managers, to assist at the station,” Carroll Thomas, first vice president of ATU Local 689 told WTOP. “We’ve asked for more station managers to assist on a daily basis for our riding public and we can’t get that help, but you bring in almost 10 extra station managers to assist these folks. That’s special treatment.”
In a Sunday news conference, Metro Transit Police Deputy Chief Warren Donald said the “private” car was to avoid violence between white nationalists and counterprotesters.
In a statement to WTOP partner NBC Washington, Metro stated that Orange Line trains were marked “special” because the last stop was set for Foggy Bottom because of major track work.
“The Kessler group traveled from Vienna to Foggy Bottom on a regularly scheduled train, together with other passengers, media and law enforcement. They were escorted by police onto the rear of the train and police rode in that rail car and others to protect the safety of everyone onboard the train,” said Metro.
“The train stopped at every station to allow any customers to enter and exit. Vienna Station remained open to the public at all times. Any changes to traffic patterns were directed by police for crowd management.”
Members of Metro’s largest union have been calling for the removal of Metro manager Paul Wiedefeld and his team for weeks.
“It’s wrong when you stand here and tell us there’s no special treatment for these folks and you turn around and you do it,” said Thomas. “That’s something Mr. Wiedefeld has to answer to.”
WTOP’s Melissa Howell contributed to this report.