Amid lawsuit, White Nationalists seek to 'move on' from Charlottesville and into Tennessee
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) - The Georgetown Law Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP) has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the City of Charlottesville, Virginia and other entities against groups behind the "Unite the Right" rally.
The August rally resulted in the death of Heather Heyer, a protestor struck and killed by an Ohio man after he plowed into a group of people voicing their dissent of the rally, injuring 19 others.
The lawsuit claims various militia groups, the League of the South, Traditionalist Worker Party, National Socialist Movement, and other individual supporters "transformed an idyllic college town into a virtual combat zone," adding the organizations came to Charlottesville "to fight."
Referencing rally members who came armed with assault rifles, clubs, shields, and uniforms, the suit claims the groups came as "members of a fighting force." The suit says these rally members were met with resistance by counter-protestors within "the so-called Antifa and other movements" but were not met with resistance matching the "private armies" present at the rally.
As a result, the suit contends the groups "terrified local residents and caused attendees to mistake them for authorized military personnel." It's the "private armies" and individual leaders seen as "commanders" the suit aims to block from returning to the City of Charlottesville.
Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer stated “What Charlottesville saw the weekend of August 12 were armed organizations parading their violence in public and attacking citizens. Such a blatant assault on democratic government itself may be integral to today’s ‘alt-right’ movement, but it cannot be allowed to continue.”
Jason Kessler, a self-described freelance journalist and organizer of the Unite the Right rally also named in the suit, called the lawsuit "bullshit." Taking to Twitter on Thursday, Kessler contends the city is trying to take away First and Second Amendment rights and the city is actually to blame for the chaos.
"Charlottesville police failed to follow through on agreed upon safety measures that would have protected both sides. The city government inhibited them from doing their jobs & are now trying to retroactively change laws to fit their narrative," Kessler stated.
That claim is now being used by some of the groups and people named in the suit for choosing Tennessee for their next rally. The "White Lives Matter" rally to be held in Shelbyville and Murfreesboro on October 28th. It is expected to include Jeff Schoep, The National Socialist Movement, Matthew Heimbach, the Traditionalist Worker Party, the League of the South and others named in the Charlottesville suit.
Posted to the "White Lives Matter Event Page" on occidentaldissent.com, organizers hope to "soldier on and move beyond what happened in Charlottesville. It's been a black cloud hanging over us...and we need to move forward."
Organizers say the reasoning behind choosing Shelbyville stemmed from a "desire to avoid a place where police would stand down," instead of Nashville, a place which has a "Democrat stronghold." Organizers believe police in Shelbyville will allow for the rally to take place peacefully so they can protest refugee resettlement, speak out on the "media coverup" of the recent shooting at an Antioch church, and voice anger about President Trump's immigration agenda.
Although the organizers are calling for Nazi swastika's to stay home due to "optics," the site states they are "looking into" if the event will be an "armed event." Organizers contend the event is about focusing on moral outrage, expressing anger, and drawing attention to Emanuel Samson's shooting at an Antioch church that killed Melanie Smith and injured six others.
The rally is expected to take place in the City of Shelbyville from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. October 28th at the intersection of HWY 231 and Lane Parkway. Another rally is expected in the City of Murfreesboro from 1-4 that afternoon.