Activist Groups Request Charges Dropped Against 3 Aug. 12 Protesters

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Activist groups in Charlottesville are calling on the city's commonwealth's attorney, Joseph Platania, to drop the charges against three black men who were arrested amidst the violence that broke out on August 12.

Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ), Black Lives Matter, and Congregate Charlottesville all gathered outside of Charlottesville City Hall March 5, ahead of a scheduled preliminary hearing for one of the men.  

"We are seeing white supremacist coming in and inciting violence against black people, specifically, so intimidating them, aggressively, coming at them physically to provoke a self-defense response and then charging them with assault,” said Grace Aheron, SURJ. 

The three men who face charges are DeAndre Harris, Corey Long, and Donald Blakney. 

Harris is charged with one count of malicious wounding, in relation to the Market Street Garage beating from August 12. He is expected in court on March 16. 

Long is accused of using a flamethrower device near Emancipation Park, which resulted in a disorderly conduct charge, as well as an assault and battery charge. He is scheduled to appear in court April 17. 

Blackney, whose court appearance set for March 8 sparked the rally outside City Hall, is charged with malicious wounding.

The groups are requesting that the accused men be cleared of all charges. 

Representatives from the rally delivered the request to Platania’s office following their rally outside City Hall.  

"We are here to stand against this. We are here to say no to the ways in which our justice system has been weaponized to burden black people,” said Lisa Woolfork, Black Lives Matter. 

The groups tell NBC29 they are scheduled to meet with Platania in person.