This week in brief: Snuffing out tiki torches, ‘really dank bud’ and too cute puppies

Close up of a burning tiki torch on a blurred colored background. Close up of a burning tiki torch on a blurred colored background.

Candles in, tiki torches out

Just ahead of Jason Kessler’s March 6 lawsuit against the city complaining that City Manager Maurice Jones unconstitutionally denied his permit for a two-day August 12 anniversary rally—Jones also denied five other applicants’ permit requests for the weekend—City Council updated its event permit regulations February 20.

  • 45-day notice if street closure requested, 30 days if not
  • Prohibited: Open flames, except for hand-held candles for ceremonial events
  • Prohibited (partial list): Pellet guns, air rifles, nunchucks, tasers, heavy gauge metal chains, poles, bricks, rocks, metal beverage or food cans or containers, glass bottles, axes, skateboards, swords, knives, metal pipes, pepper or bear spray, mace, bats, sticks, clubs, drones and explosives
  • Prohibited: Dressing like cops, military or emergency personnel
  • Small group exception: Up to 50 citizens may spontaneously demonstrate without a permit

Highlights from Kessler’s complaint:

  • The city couldn’t guarantee a clear path to enter Emancipation Park for his fellow Lee statue-loving protesters.
  • The permit denial is based on crowd size, but there’s plenty of room in the one-acre park, which could hold as many as 20,000 people “cheek to jowl.”
  • Because of the city’s “misconduct,” fewer people will attend and a “reduced crowd will dilute” Kessler’s message.
  • The city’s denial was based on Kessler’s viewpoint and violates his First and 14th Amendment rights.


Quote of the Week: “You’re more likely to be killed by @timkaine running mate @HillaryClinton than you are by an AR-15.” —A March 8 tweet by failed gubernatorial candidate Corey Stewart, who stopped by Charlottesville March 10 during his campaign for Senate.


How much is that puppy in the browsing window?

Attorney General Mark Herring says his consumer protection team continues to receive complaints from people “who thought they were buying an incredibly cute puppy from an online breeder, only to find out it was a scam and the dog didn’t exist.” Red flags for this scam include stock photos, exotic or designer breeds for cheap, and poorly made websites that include misspellings and grammatical errors, he says.

Life and then some

Cathy Rothgeb

A jury recommended a 184-year sentence for Cathy S. Rothgeb, the former Orange County youth softball coach found guilty on March 12 on 30 of 34 charges, which include forcible sodomy, aggravated sexual battery and object sexual penetration of two former athletes. The alleged molestations began in the ’90s, when one victim testified that she was 9 years old.

Assault and battery

A Western Albemarle High School teacher has been placed on administrative leave after he was arrested for a physical altercation with a student on February 16. Oluwole Adesina, a 53-year-old Crozet resident, faces up to a year in jail or a $2,500 fine for the misdemeanor assault and battery charge.

Green acres

Hogwaller Farm, a nine-acre development with 30 apartments and an urban farm, has been proposed near Moores Creek along Nassau Street, according to the Daily Progress, which reported March 11 that developer Justin Shimp submitted a zoning amendment pre-application last summer to ask Albemarle officials to change the light-industrial designation to rural so he could plant seven acres of “really dank bud.”

New hire

Roger Johnson. Courtesy of Albemarle County

Albemarle County announced its hiring of economic development director Roger Johnson from Greenville, North Carolina on March 7, for a job that’s been open for over a year. The last person to hold it lasted for 19 months.

Guilty plea

Joshua Lamar Carter, 27, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on March 12 for firing a gun at city police officers in 2016. In a plea agreement, he entered an Alford plea to one charge of attempted second-degree murder and pleaded guilty to shooting a gun in a public place and illegally possessing a firearm as a felon.

A headline we’re starting to get used to: Another August 12 lawsuit

Georgetown Law’s Civil Rights Clinic filed a federal defamation lawsuit March 13 on behalf of a Unite the Right rally counterprotester who claims to be a victim of fake news conspiracies.

Brennan Gilmore’s cell phone footage of the deadly car attack on Fourth Street went viral on August 12, and “Gilmore was contacted by media outlets to discuss his experience and soon became the target of elaborate online conspiracies that placed him at the center of a ‘deep-state’ plot to stage the attack and destabilize the Trump administration,” says a press release from the law group.

Now he’s suing defendants Alex Jones, Infowars, former Congressman Allen West and others for “intentional infliction of emotional distress” and “mobilizing an army of followers to pursue a campaign of harassment and threats against him.” The lawsuit seeks punitive damages and compensation for Gilmore’s alleged reputational injuries and emotional distress.

“From Sandy Hook to Pizzagate to Charlottesville, Las Vegas and now Parkland, the defendants thrive by inciting devastating real-world consequences with the propaganda and lies they publish as news,” says Gilmore. “Today, I’m asking a court to hold them responsible for the personal and professional damage their lies have caused me, and, more importantly, to deter them from repeating this dangerous pattern of defamation and intimidation.”

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