In brief: The militia won’t come back, a free speech controversy and more

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Militia members on August 12. Photo by Eze Amos Militia members on August 12. Photo by Eze Amos

And stay out!

Six militia groups and their leaders named in a lawsuit aimed at preventing white supremacist and paramilitary organizations from showing their mugs around Charlottesville again have settled, agreeing they won’t engage in coordinated armed activity in any of the city’s future rallies or protests.

The latest round of defendants to bow out includes the Pennsylvania Light Foot Militia, New York Light Foot Militia, III% People’s Militia of Maryland, and their commanding officers: Christian Yingling, George Curbelo and Gary Sigler.

Militia groups were confused with the National Guard on August 12 when both groups showed up strapped with assault rifles and wearing camouflage tactical gear, but the former have maintained that they independently attended the rally to serve as a buffer between the increasingly violent alt-right and counterprotest groups.

“It became so overwhelming that the only thing we could do was pick people up off the floor,” Curbelo told C-VILLE after the suit was filed last October.

The lawsuit, which names 25 groups and individuals, was filed by Georgetown University Law Center’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection last October on behalf of the city and several local businesses and neighborhood associations.

At this point, Jason Kessler, Elliott Kline—aka Eli Mosley—Matthew Heimbach, the Traditionalist Worker Party, Vanguard America and Redneck Revolt are the only defendants actively litigating the case, according to the law group. Others are in default or haven’t been served yet.

The League of the South, its leaders, Michael Tubbs and Spencer Borum, and the swastika-loving National Socialist Movement and its leader, Jeff Schoep, have also settled.

So with the literal neo-Nazis officially agreeing to stay away, it begs the question: Who will come to Kessler’s anniversary rally (for which the city has denied a permit) this summer?

Rotunda Bible reader silenced

UVA alum Bruce Kothmann decided to challenge the university’s new speech policies when he read from the Bible on the steps of the Rotunda in early May. University police told Kothmann that was not allowed because he needed permission a week in advance and, in any case, the Rotunda is not one of UVA’s designated free speech zones for unaffiliated people—including alums.

Sex reassignment pioneer

Dr. Milton Edgerton, a plastic surgeon who performed some of the first genital reconfigurations in the country in the 1960s at Johns Hopkins University and then in 1970 at the University of Virginia, died May 17 at age 96.

Tweet of the week

Big bucks

The city’s FY 2019 budget provides $225,000 for City Council’s own staff, including a researcher and spokesperson. A recent job listing on Indeed.com for the latter, officially called the “council outreach coordinator,” offers a starting pay between $21.36 and $31.25 per hour to “develop, implement and champion council community engagement initiatives,” among other tasks.

 ’Hoo at Windsor

UVA alum and Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian attended the nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with his bride, Serena Williams, who’s a pal of the new Duchess of Sussex.

Ryan Kelly

Ryan’s redo

Pulitzer Prize-winning former Daily Progress photographer Ryan Kelly, who last captured Marcus Martin flying in the air August 12 after being struck by a car that plowed into a crowd on Fourth Street, took photos of Martin and Marissa Blair’s wedding for the New York Times. Pop soul musician Major sang at the event, and the purple theme was in honor of the couple’s friend, Heather Heyer.

Pole-sitter lawsuit

The Rutherford Institute has filed suit on behalf of Dr. Greg Gelburd to demand that one Mountain Valley Pipeline protester named Nutty, who’s perched on a 45-foot pole in the Jefferson National Forest, be allowed food, water and examination by the doctor, whose conscience and religious beliefs have led him to offer services to poor and disadvantaged people across the world.

A big nope

A federal appeals court has ruled that Sharon Love, the mother of Yeardley Love, will not have access to George Huguely’s family’s $6 million insurance policy in her wrongful death lawsuit against her daughter’s convicted killer. The Chartis Property Casualty Company policy has an exclusion for criminal activity.

Ew, gross

The exotic East Asian tick, aka  longhorned tick, was found on an orphaned calf in Albemarle last week, after initially being spotted on a sheep farm in New Jersey in 2017. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is still determining the significance. And in other gross news, the invasive emerald ash borer is on its way to Charlottesville and expected to kill all untreated ash trees within three years.

Quote of the Week

Nikuyah Walker. Photo by Eze Amos

“Most of the stuff I’ve been dealing with is complete nonsense.” —Mayor Nikuyah Walker on Facebook Live May 16

 

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