Update: Corey Long Found Guilty of Disorderly Conduct
Supporters are voicing their disapproval over Corey Alexander Long being found guilty on a charge connected to events during the Unite the Right Rally.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The man who used a flame-throwing device during the Unite the Right rally has been found guilty of disorderly conduct.
Twenty-four-year-old Corey Alexander Long went before a judge in Charlottesville General District Court around 10:35 a.m. Friday, June 8.
Long claims he was acting in self-defense on August 12, 2017. The Culpeper-area man says many people were threatening him that day, and he ignited an aerosol can to push them away.
The defense said Long fired off the can when Richard Preston threatened and fired a bullet towards him at Emancipation Park that day.
"He made an ethical decision to stand up against racism and injustice, and sometimes standing up against those decisions you'll be rebuked by the American court system," said Malik Shabazz, Long’s legal adviser.
The commonwealth argued Long's action was dangerous to others, not just Preston.
The judge sentenced Long to 360 days in jail, but suspended all but 20 days. He was also given two years of good behavior and 100 hours of community service.
An assault charge against Long was nolle prossed due to the prosecution being unable to get in contact with the alleged victim, Harold Crews.
"Corey Long came to defend our community. He today was found guilty of that," said Seth Wispelway with Congregate Charlottesville.
"There is some legal response that we should have in the way of justice for the victim, but not to blame the victim. I don't think that's good posture," said Imam Akbar, member of the New Black Panther Party.
A statement issued by supporters says they are outraged by the conviction.
Long thanked the crowd after he had received the guilty verdict. He told them, “It's no sweat. But would I do it again? Hey, you never know."
Long's legal team has not yet indicated if they will appeal the judge's ruling.
06/08/2018 Statement from the Organizers of the Drop The Charges Campaign:
Black Lives Matter-Charlottesville, Congregate Charlottesville, Showing up for Racial Justice-Charlottesville and other local groups and community members
We are outraged that Corey Long has been convicted for simply asserting his humanity in the face of white supremacist violence. After August 12, thousands of people across the country celebrated Corey’s image as a symbol of resistance to the violent white supremacist incursion on Charlottesville. Now Corey has been convicted by Commonwealth Attorney Joe Platania and the courts of a crime for his brave actions to protect Charlottesville. What hypocrisy. We cannot accept a system of “justice” that allows white supremacists to physically attack a community and then also helps them target their victims in court. Joe Platania must stop cooperating with white supremacists and drop the remaining charges against Donald Blakney, the other black man he is prosecuting for similar reasons. We cannot let our government be used to further the fascist agenda.