Activists stop traffic, arrested in late night protest

Community activist Star Peterson, a victim of the August 12 car attack, was arrested when she parked her wheelchair in the middle of Market Street, faced traffic and threw two middle fingers into the air. Photo by Eze Amos Community activist Star Peterson, a victim of the August 12 car attack, was arrested when she parked her wheelchair in the middle of Market Street, faced traffic and threw two middle fingers into the air. Photo by Eze Amos

Last night, Charlottesville police arrested about eight community activists who were protesting yesterday’s conviction of Corey Long, the man they say defended the community on August 12 when law enforcement failed to do so.

A couple dozen activists gathered in Justice Park around 9:30pm, and with signs and banners in tow, began marching around the Downtown Mall, chanting “Corey Long did nothing wrong” and “Cops and the Klan go hand in hand.”

By the time they made it to the west end of the mall and turned right to march down Ridge McIntire Road, they had gained the attention of police in at least two vehicles and on two bikes. As some marchers spilled off the sidewalk and onto the street, police demanded they step back onto the sidewalk, nudging activist Nic McCarthy as he shouted, “Corey Long protected us! Where were you?”

Nic McCarthy. Photo by Eze Amos

McCarthy was one of the people arrested and escorted to the local jail, after their procession made it to Market Street, where they stopped traffic by, again, refusing to get out of the street.

Nearly 20 police officers were present on Market Street and the area was awash in blue and red police lights as cops and about 20 activists engaged in screaming matches. Approximately 15 other marchers immediately obeyed police and stepped out of the roadway.

Veronica Fitzhugh, a known community activist, was one who did not. She lay in the middle of a Market Street crosswalk until multiple police pulled her up from under her underarms and dragged her to one of their squad vans—her knees scraping the ground as they removed her from the street. Fitzhugh and McCarthy were also arrested for obstructing free passage at the July 8 Ku Klux Klan rally in Justice Park when they, along with several other protesters, locked arms in front of the gate that the Klan was planning to enter the park through.

Veronica Fitzhugh. Photo by Eze Amos

Police demanded that C-VILLE freelance photographer Eze Amos, who was documenting the protest and arrests, step out of the roadway. He argued that he was a journalist, and that pedestrians are allowed to walk in the crosswalk.

“I can take photos for God’s sake,” Amos said. “That’s my job.”

To that, the officer said Amos was not permitted to walk back and forth across the crosswalk while officers were arresting people there. Amos was not arrested.

Police also arrested Star Peterson, a victim of the August 12 car attack who parked her wheelchair in the middle of Market Street, facing traffic, and threw two middle fingers into the air. She was given a summons, and after eventually moving a bit further down the street, she did it again. This time, police wheeled her out of the street, and called an ambulance to haul her to jail.

Star Peterson. Photo by Eze Amos

As the remaining activists waited for the night to play out, one could be heard saying to the crowd, “Y’all want me to go to Lowe’s and get torches? They’ll let us march then.”

All activists who were taken to jail were released by 1am, according to The Daily Progress.

The other activists arrested were Eleanor Ruth Myer Sessoms, James Alan Swanson, Jenna Hochman and Keval Mandar Bhatt.

Photos by Eze Amos

Updated June 13 at 9:30am with a list of people who were arrested.

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