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ACLU, Rutherford Institute Represent Kessler in Lawsuit Filed Against Charlottesville

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Statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Emancipation Park Statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Emancipation Park
Jason Kessler with members of a motorcycle club in front of Charlottesville Police Department (FILE IMAGE) Jason Kessler with members of a motorcycle club in front of Charlottesville Police Department (FILE IMAGE)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Attorneys for Jason Kessler filed a federal lawsuit late Thursday evening against the City of Charlottesville.  

Citing safety considerations, the city ordered Kessler's Unite the Right rally moved to McIntire Park, about a mile away from Emancipation Park.

Kessler's lawsuit argues moving the rally will "dilute" his message, violating free speech. The Rutherford Institute and American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia are representing Kessler.

An emergency injunction is also expected to be filed with attorneys hoping to go before a judge Friday.

Release from Rutherford Institute:

Pointing out that the First Amendment prohibits the government from blocking a protest based on its content or viewpoint, or based on how the government anticipates others will respond to the protest, attorneys for The Rutherford Institute and American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia (ACLU) have filed a First and Fourteenth Amendment lawsuit against the City of Charlottesville, Va., for discriminating against protesters who espouse highly controversial views and blocking their access to a historic downtown park while allowing counterdemonstrators access to parks in the vicinity.

The complaint argues that City officials violated activist Jason Kessler’s constitutional rights when they revoked his permit five days before a long-planned August 12 rally in Emancipation Park to protest the removal of a Confederate statue from the park and insisted that the demonstration be moved to a more isolated location over a mile away.

Two other groups that oppose Kessler’s message, which have called on thousands of protesters to attend, have been granted permits by the City for downtown parks close to Emancipation Park on August 12.

 

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