Mayor Signer, Wes Bellamy Threaten Legal Action Following White Nationalist Rally
Charlottesville leaders and law enforcement officials are threatening legal action after the white nationalist Tiki torch rally in Emancipation Park on Saturday, October 7.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville leaders and law enforcement officials are threatening legal action after the white nationalist Tiki torch rally in Emancipation Park on Saturday, October 7.
Led by Richard Spencer, around 30 white nationalists gathered in Emancipation Park on Saturday evening to chant that they "will be back." Police were present, and the group dispersed after about 10 minutes.
Mayor Mike Signer and Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy have both called for legal action after white supremacists marched with torches on Saturday night.
But there might not be any applicable action to take.
Following the demonstration, Signer tweeted that the city is “looking at all legal options.”
Charlottesville police released a statement saying essentially the same thing as Signer.
Bellamy posted that he believes there is state legislation in place to prosecute the participants, but NBC29 legal analyst Lloyd Snook disagrees with Bellamy's analysis.
“Wes Bellamy said maybe you could charge them under the cross-burning statute, well, no, not really,” says Snook. “The U.S. Supreme Court has said that the cross-burning statute is only constitutional if it’s applied to a situation where you’re directly threatening a particular person."
Snook says that as city legislation stands today, nothing was illegal about Saturday night’s events.
However, Snook does believe that the city only needs to tweak current legislation in order to press charges if an event like Saturday night’s rally happens again.
Signer, Bellamy, and Charlottesville police were all unavailable to comment on this issue on Sunday.