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Charlottesville Joins Lawsuit to Stop White Nationalist Summer Rally
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Summary: Charlottesville is involved in two lawsuits against the white nationalist party and its affiliates so that the group is not able to meet in the town again.

Two new lawsuits have been filed against the white nationalist party and others that attend the summer rally in Charlottesville, according to The Associated Press. The lawsuits aim to prevent similar chaos and violence from happening again.


The first lawsuit filed on behalf of Charlottesville, local businesses and neighborhood associations accuses organizers of the rally of violating Virginia law. The lawsuit filed in Charlottesville Circuit Court also blames leading figures of the white nationalist movement and their organizations, private militia groups and their leaders, and others connected to the “Unite the Right” rally of organizing and acting as paramilitary units.

The lawsuit does not seek any monetary damages, only a court order to stop “illegal paramilitary activity.” The lawsuit states, “Touted as an opportunity to protest the removal of a controversial Confederate statue, the event quickly escalated well beyond such constitutionally protected expression. Instead, private military forces transformed an idyllic college town into a virtual combat zone.”

The Washington Post first reported on the second lawsuit filed by 11 people injured during the attacks. Their lawsuit was filed in federal court in Charlottesville against the rally leaders and attendees.

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The rally in Charlottesville drew hundreds of white nationalists in addition to the hundreds of counterprotesters. The groups began getting violent towards each other before the rally even started with physical altercations, releasing smoke bombs, and utilizing chemical sprays. At least one gun was fired and then later a woman was killed with a white nationalist drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters.

The lawsuit lays out the day’s events in detail using social media posts of the defendants, documents and media accounts to further verify their argument. It dictates that the white nationalist organization was functioning as a single “fighting force,” not individuals protecting their Second Amendment right to self-defense.

The lawsuit wants them held in violation of several state laws like falsely assuming the function of peace officers or else “Charlottesville will be forced to relive the frightful spectacle of August 12: an invasion of roving paramilitary bands and unaccountable vigilante peacekeepers.”

They are being represented by the Institution for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown University and law firm MichieHamlett. The city council voted to join the lawsuit Thursday morning.

The federal lawsuit accuses the white nationalists of violating state and federal civil rights laws. They want a jury trial and monetary damages and bans to be implemented on similar gatherings. “The aim of this lawsuit is to ensure that nothing like this will happen again at the hands of Defendants – not on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, and not anywhere else in the United States of America.”

The problem the lawsuits may face is that the First Amendment protects the white nationalists’ actions. As Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz notes, “Everybody hates – as I do – what the white supremacists did in Charlottesville, and because we have what they did, we may be willing to stretch the bend the First Amendment. I’m not willing to do this. The First Amendment was designed precisely to protect this kind of unpopular and hateful expression.”

Do you think the groups should be able to congregate wherever they choose as long as they follow the laws and obtain the correct permits to do so? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about the Charlottesville incident and man that drove his car into the crowd, read these articles:




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