Attorneys File Preliminary Injunction to Not Let Militia Groups into Charlottesville
Attorneys in an ongoing lawsuit against Jason Kessler and a slew of militia groups are taking some new preemptive measures.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Attorneys in an ongoing lawsuit against Jason Kessler and a slew of militia groups are taking some new preemptive measures. The lawsuit involves whether or not these types of groups will be allowed back in Charlottesville this year on the anniversary weekend of the Unite the Right rally.
This lawsuit was filed back in October, and it asks a judge to bar groups, regardless of ideologies, from coming in as armed militias.
On Thursday, June 7, attorneys filed a motion to push for a preliminary injunction to be put in place to bar those groups until a formal decision is made. The idea behind this new push it to take preemptive measures against any potential violence if a judge hasn’t made a final decision regarding these groups before August 12.
“They're planning to do it again,” says Kyle McNew, an attorney representing the city.
Militia groups and white nationalists are looking to the city of Charlottesville for their 2018 Unite the Right rally.
“You have this date coming up that everyone knows - sort of a date that's marked the calendar,” says McNew.
August 11 and 12 are dates that many will never forget.
“The thing that this suit does and this preliminary injunction request does is to make it clear that the city is not going to make the same mistake they made last year,” says Lloyd Snook, NBC29’s legal analyst.
A lawsuit filed back in October of 2017 by the city of Charlottesville, local businesses, the Neighborhood Association, and the Downtown Business Association asks for an injunction - or an order - banning coordinated paramilitary or militia conduct in the future.
“The purpose of the suit is to say you can't act like a private army,” says McNew. “That's not allowed."
“Government has a right to say, ‘we're the only ones who have a militia,’” says Snook. “You don't get to be a militia unless you're gonna be under the control of the governor. That's clear, and that's not a Second Amendment question or a First Amendment question."
That’s what those being served may argue to a judge. However, plaintiffs bringing the suit to court say this is more of a safety issue.
“It'll be just re-infliction of trauma to everyone involved," says McNew.
McNew and another attorney from Michie Hamlett and attorneys from the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection Georgetown University Law Center are representing the city of Charlottesville and other parties. They filed a preliminary injunction, which is a temporary motion request, on Thursday.
It's asking a judge to not allow those militia groups back into Charlottesville until a final ruling is made on the case.
This all comes with the anniversary of that August weekend close on the horizon.
“Just recognize that there is much more harm that's gonna come to the city of Charlottesville if they get to do this again,” says Snook.
The lawsuit originally named others, but some groups settled and promised they would not return.
A judge is expected to rule on this motion on July 5.