White Nationalist Sues Charlottesville Over First Amendment

Aug 14, 2019

Jason Kessler
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - The lead organizer of a 2017 white nationalist rally that ended in violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, has filed another lawsuit claiming his First Amendment rights were violated.

The Daily Progress reports the federal lawsuit was filed Monday by Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler. He voluntarily dismissed an earlier suit that made similar claims.

The new suit claims police and city officials violated his free speech rights. Unlike previous complaints, Kessler focuses on the antifacist group known as Antifa. He claims police inaction allowed antifascists to effectively prevent him and others from expressing themselves.

White nationalists were protesting the proposed removal of a Confederate statue when violent clashes with counterprotesters erupted.

An avowed white supremacist, James Alex Fields Jr., drove his car into counterprotesters, killing a woman and injuring others.

Suit by Widows of Fallen Officers

The widows of two Virginia troopers killed in a helicopter crash during a deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville are now suing the state and others over their husbands' deaths.

The Daily Progress reports Amanda Bates and Karen Cullen filed separate wrongful death lawsuits Monday against Virginia, the Secretariat of Public Safety and Homeland Security and state police.

H. Jay Cullen and Berke M.M. Bates had been monitoring the "Unite the Right" rally on Aug. 12, 2017, when their helicopter crashed.

Federal investigators expect to issue their findings on the crash next year. A primary report suggests the aircraft's main rotor system or tail rotor likely malfunctioned and caused it to spin out of control. The lawsuits say the helicopter had a history of malfunctions, including the tail rotor issues.