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Two Found Guilty of Obstruction Following Protest at City Council Meeting

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Police act as City Council meeting turns confrontational (FILE IMAGE) Police act as City Council meeting turns confrontational (FILE IMAGE)
Protest erupts during City Council meeting on August 21, 2017 (FILE IMAGE) Protest erupts during City Council meeting on August 21, 2017 (FILE IMAGE)
Protest erupts during City Council meeting on August 21, 2017 (FILE IMAGE) Protest erupts during City Council meeting on August 21, 2017 (FILE IMAGE)
Attorney Jeffrey E. Fogel oustide Charlottesville General District Court Attorney Jeffrey E. Fogel oustide Charlottesville General District Court
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Two people have been found guilty of obstruction of justice following their actions during a Charlottesville City Council meeting last summer.

Thirty-year-old Mack Heisey and 29-year-old Sara Michel Tansey appeared in Charlottesville General District Court Friday, February 9. They had participated in a confrontational protest inside Council Chambers on August 21, 2017. It was the first City Council meeting to take place after the controversial and violent events of August 12, including the Unite the Right rally and the death of activist Heather Heyer.

Councilors had attempted to conduct other matters, but members of the audience wanted time to share their grievances.

"This was the first council meeting after the attack on Charlottesville on August 12th. People were quite upset that the council was not going to discuss it and was going to rather conduct regular business, out of that rose these charges," said defense attorney Jeffrey E. Fogel.

Officials ended up shutting down the meeting after it became overwhelmed with public outrage.

Heisey and Tansey were charged after they tried to prevent police officers from arresting Donna Gasapo.

Gasapo was found guilty of disorderly conduct during a separate court hearing. Heisey and Tansey attempted to have their charges reduced to disorderly conduct during Friday's hearing, but the judge said the charge of obstruction rightfully met their actions. Both defendants were given 10 days of jail time, which was suspended, and two years of good behavior.

City Council turned the meeting into a public comment session after the arrests. Fogel said councilors should have withdrawn or attempted to get his clients charges dismissed.