Charlottesville sues to stop 'private militia groups' from holding rallies

Charlottesville Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy and Mayor Mike Signer walking to Charlottesville Circuit Court

Charlottesville Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy and Mayor Mike Signer walking to Charlottesville Circuit Court

The City Council held a special meeting Thursday morning, where they voted to join the lawsuit.

A lawsuit is now filed in federal court against Unite the Right rally organizer Jason Kessler and other white nationalists who attended the rally, including Richard Spencer.

"Our complaints shows that there are legal tools available to ensure that the streets do not become battlefields for those who organize and engage in paramilitary activity", said Mary McCord, senior litigator for the institute.

"T$3 o the self-professed militia purporting to function as peacekeepers, the law is clear in Virginia, as it is in many states: 'in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power'".

The lawsuit notes the militia group members carried assault rifles as they marched and were equipped "to inflict massive harm upon a moment's notice from their commanders".

The complaint seeks to prevent defendants from returning to Charlottesville for another protest.

The complaint names more than a dozen individuals and organizations as defendants, including the Pennsylvania and NY chapters of the Light Foot Militia, the Virginia Minutemen Militia, Redneck Revolt and the Socialist Rifle Association. But several armed groups with certain political allegiances were seen engaging in combat or taking defense positions in and around Emancipation Park, where the August 12 Unite the Right rally was supposed to take place, and Justice Park, where a counter-demonstration had been organized.

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