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$3 Million Lawsuit Filed against Unite the Right’s Organizer, Jason Kessler
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A car drove into a group of counter-protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia. Photo courtesy of Mercury News.

Summary: Two victims of Saturday’s car assault in Charlottesville are suing organizers and attendees of Unite the Right.

The organizer of Unite the Right, as well as other white supremacists, were sued for being domestic terrorists, according to The Richmond-Times Dispatch. Plaintiffs Tadrint Washington and Micah Washington were injured on Saturday by suspect James Alex Fields Jr. at an anti-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia; and they are seeking $3 million in damages from him and over 30 defendants.

  
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Tadrint and Micah Washington are being represented by Timothy Litzenberg, a lawyer with the Miller Law Firm. Litzenberg told Richmond Times-Dispatch that he believes others who were injured in Saturday’s car crash may join the suit.

On Saturday, hundreds of neo-Nazis gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia to protest the removal of a Confederate statue. Their presence inspired counter protestors to show up, and Fields Jr. drove his car into a group of them, injuring 19 and killing one 32-year-old woman, Heather Heyer.

The white supremacist rally was organized by Jason Kessler who had sued the city days before for its alleged violation of his freedom of speech. The city had granted him a permit to protest but not in the location he had desired, but they had allowed other organizations to protest in his desired spot.

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Litzenberg said that his law firm represents victims of terrorism, and he said that what had happened on Saturday was domestic terrorism.

“It’s a natural thing for us to represent people in domestic terrorism cases, because this is absolutely what it is,” Litzenberg said to The Richmond Times-Dispatch. “We’re very eager to get (the rally’s organizers) into a court room with a jury of ordinary Charlottesville citizens.”



According to Richmond Times-Dispatch, the plaintiffs are suing Fields Jr., Kessler as well as other prominent figures or groups in the white supremacist community such as Richard Spencer, David Duke, Mike Peinovich, Michael Hill, Matthew Heimbach, Traditionalist Worker Party, the League of the South, Vanguard America, the National Socialist Movement, The Nationalist Front, National Policy Institute, the Proud Boys, Council of Conservative Citizens, AltRight.com, Augustus Invictus, Pax Dickinson, Christopher Cantwell, Andrew Anglin, The Daily Stormer, Identity Dixie, Identity Europa, Nathan Damigo, Red Elephants, American Renaissance, American Freedom Keepers, and The Pennsylvania Light Foot Militia.

Almost a week before the violent rally, The Rutherford Institute and American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia represented white supremacist Jason Kessler in his case against the city of Charlottesville. According to NBC News, the city ordered the organizer of Unite the Right to move  his rally to McIntire Park, about a mile away from Emancipation Park, in Charlottesville; and Kessler said that his right to free speech was violated.

While Kessler is now being sued by anti-Nazi protestors, his followers are working on crowdsourcing a new lawsuit against Charlottesville, according to Gizmodo. They said that the city was to blame for the violence because they did not provide accurate security, and they said that their civil rights were violated.

The crowdsourcing campaign is being run by Nathan Damigo, who founded Identity Europa, and attorney Kyle Bristow. The two men said that Charlottesville police failed to protect Unite the Right protestors from violent counter protestors, even though the Unite the Right event had spent months obtaining permits to assemble.

Attorney Ken White told Gizmodo that Damigo may have a valid claim that police violated his First Amendment rights to assemble peacefully.

“The idea is that ‘people are threatening violence towards you’ is not a lawful basis to tell someone to shut up and leave,” White said. “So, if the Nazis could prove that the cops did basically endorse a heckler’s veto, they could have a claim.”

Despite possibly having a valid legal argument, White noted that Damigo’s lawsuit will face difficulties because it is nearly impossible to sue the police for not protecting you enough and that juries are basically not sympathetic to Nazis.

UPDATE August 15, 2017 10 pm to clarify that attorney Kyle Bristow was not at the rally. He told JD Journal that he has never been to Charlottesville. 

What do you think of the Unite the Right rally on Saturday? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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