Charlottesville sues Nazis behind ‘Unite the Right’ rally
The city of Charlottesville filed a lawsuit Thursday accusing organizers and groups who participated in August’s deadly “Unite the Rally” of violating Virginia state law by acting as “private military forces.”
Multiple self-styled militias who espouse white nationalism took part in the right-wing parade bearing assault rifles and military-grade body armor while wearing combat boots and camouflage uniforms, which, call me a cuck, sounds pretty paramilitary. Local residents reported fear and confusion about whether some heavily armed groups of men were actual soldiers, so I guess I’m not alone.
The lawsuit doesn’t deny the white nationalists’ first or second amendment rights, but rather claims the organized displays of force violate the Virginia constitution:
Virginia law has long recognized the threat to civil order and public safety posed by organized groups prepared to use force outside the careful strictures of the Commonwealth’s supervision. In language that dates back to the Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776, Article I, Section 13 of the Virginia Constitution provides that “in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.” A section of the Virginia Code is dedicated to prohibiting “unlawful paramilitary activity,” as specified therein. See Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-433.2. And another state statute forbids falsely assuming the functions of any peace officer or law-enforcement officer. See id. § 18.2-174.
The charges in the lawsuit are extensive and worth a read for a detailed picture of civilians’ impression of the alt-right out-of-towners who flooded the streets in support of a white supremacist monument. Allegations include that alt-right groups terrorized Charlottesville, coordinated the massive show of force through online discussion groups, and planned extensively for militaristic violence. One participant in the rally, James Fields Jr., is currently being held for second-degree murder after allegedly killing counter-protester Heather Heyer with his car.
Charlottesville, along with multiple neighborhood associations and local businesses, name 11 different organizations and 11 individuals as defendants. Several of the defendants are helping plan the “White Lives Matter” rallies scheduled in Tennessee later in October.
You can read the full lawsuit here.