Judge Considering Motions in Lawsuit Against Groups Connect to Aug. 12
Defense attorneys want a judge to dismiss their clients from a lawsuit that could prevent militia-styled groups from demonstrating in Charlottesville.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Defense attorneys want a judge to dismiss their clients from a lawsuit that could prevent militia-style groups from demonstrating in Charlottesville.
On Tuesday, June 12, Judge Richard Moore heard from attorneys representing Redneck Revolt and Unite the Right rally organizer Jason Eric Kessler in Charlottesville Circuit Court.
The two defendants are listed in a lawsuit filed by Georgetown Law, which was later joined by the city and several businesses. The suit is seeking to prevent unauthorized paramilitary groups from returning to Charlottesville following the events of August 12, 2017.
The plaintiffs say the presence of militia-styled groups is threatening.
Defendants in the lawsuit face five counts involving actions tied to the controversial rally, including "falsely assuming the functions of peace officers" and "strict subordination."
Redneck Revolt identifies itself as part of the counter-protest groups that was against Kessler’s rally at Emancipation Park, and claims that it does not act like the other groups listed in the lawsuit.
"They [Redneck Revolt] didn't wear uniforms or have a command structure, or have any sort of formal organized structure. They were just a group of folks who showed up to help defend Charlottesville who happened to also be together, and about nine of them had open carry firearms," said defense attorney Pam Starsia.
Additionally, the organization’s legal team argued the lawsuit violates Redneck Revolt’s 1st and 2nd Amendment rights.
Kessler is cited in the lawsuit as a leader, and claims he instructed groups to go to McIntire Park after police had declared an unlawful assembly at Emancipation Park.
Several organizations previously listed in the lawsuit - including the Pennsylvania Light Foot Militia, New York Light Foot Militia, III% People's Militia of Maryland, and The League of the South - have already agreed to not come back to Charlottesville as part of a group of two or more while armed with any potential weapon at any demonstration or protest.
Individual members of these militaristic groups are still allowed to take part in events that occur in the city.
Judge Moore says he wants to review the lawsuit and arguments presented, and that he will announce his decision sometime next week.