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17 People Charged in Connection to 'Alt-Right' Rallies Appear in Charlottesville Court

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People leaving Charlottesville General District Court People leaving Charlottesville General District Court
Thomas Derek Freeman Thomas Derek Freeman
Richard Preston appears to be firing a gun into a crowd at the Unite the Right rally (Image Courtesy ACLU of Virginia) Richard Preston appears to be firing a gun into a crowd at the Unite the Right rally (Image Courtesy ACLU of Virginia)
Richard Wilson Preston Richard Wilson Preston
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Over a dozen people charged in connection to rallies held by white supremacists and the "alt-right" went before a Charlottesville judge Thursday morning.

Sixteen people appeared before a judge in Charlottesville General District Court shortly after 9 a.m. Thursday, August 31:

  • Obstruction of Justice (4): Kandace N Baker, Morgan Katherine Niles, Tracy Gene Redd, Erika Jenna Ries
  • Obstructing Free Passage (11): Cameron Stroud Bills, Kendall Jennifer Bills, Jo Zenobia Donahue, Veronica Haunami Fitzhugh, Thomas Derek Freeman, Nicolas Roy McCarthy, John Randall Nevear, Jeanne Marie Peterson, Sara M. Tansey, Evan S. Viglietta, Whitney Renee Whiting
  • Failing to Disperse in a Riot (1): Rasha Langston

They are all charged in connection to the rally held by members and supporters the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan at Justice Park on July 8. Many of the defendants are accused of preventing the Klan members from entering the park to hold their permit-approved event.

Freeman entered a guilty plea, and said to the court, "I willfully and intentionally stopped the KKK from entering that park."

"We wanted to make it known that we citizens of the city did not want to KKK in that park. We did not want their presence. We didn't want their hate. We didn't want them around. We wanted them to leave," said Freeman outside of court.

Freeman opted for 10 hours of community service, instead of paying a $100 fine.

Fitzhugh, a Charlottesville-based activist, has a court hearing scheduled on October 20.

The other 15 people charged will be back in court on October 30.

Richard Wilson Preston appeared via video conference before the judge around 10 a.m. The 52-year-old man is charged with one felony count of firing gun within 1,000 feet of a school.

Video appears to show Preston firing a gun into a crowd during Jason Kessler's Unite the Right rally at Emancipation Park on August 12.

Bond was not set for the Baltimore-area man since he does not have an attorney at this time.

Preston’s next court hearing is scheduled for October 12.