In brief: A12 legal guide, big-ticket sale, pet peril and more

Former Charlottesville police chief Al Thomas is named in several lawsuits stemming from the events of August 12, 2017.
Eze Amos Former Charlottesville police chief Al Thomas is named in several lawsuits stemming from the events of August 12, 2017. Eze Amos

Who’s suing whom

In advance of the two-year statute of limitations, a flurry of lawsuits have been filed stemming from the events of August 12, 2017, adding to several that are ongoing. Having a hard time keeping up with who’s a defendant and who’s a plaintiff?  Here’s a primer:

Sines v. Kessler

Ten victims of the Unite the Right rally, including Seth Wispelwey, Tyler Magill and Marcus Martin, filed suit against 24 UTR organizers, including Jason Kessler, Richard Spencer, James Fields, Elliott Kline, Chris Cantwell, Matthew Heimbach, David Parrott, and Andrew Anglin. It’s the oldest lawsuit filed, filed October 11, 2017.

In addition to filing another federal lawsuit against the city, Jason Kessler is also a defendant in other suits filed by Unite the Right victims. Eze Amos

Kessler v. City of Charlottesville

Kessler and David Parrott are suing City Manager Tarron Richardson, former police chief Al Thomas, Virginia State Police Lieutenant Becky Crannis-Curl, and former city manager Maurice Jones, claiming their First Amendment rights were violated. kessler v. charlottesville

Tanesha Hudson v. City of Charlottesville

The community activist claims Maurice Jones, Al Thomas, Detective James Mooney, Sergeant Ronnie Stayments, and Sergeant Lee Gibson violated her First, Fifth, and 14th amendment rights and seeks $400,000. Filed pro se, which means she’s representing herself, in Charlottesville Circuit Court.

DeAndre Harris v. Jason Kessler et. al.

The 35 defendants include Richard Spencer, six attackers, Elliott Kline, David Parrott, and John Doe 1 and 2 (aka Sunglasses and Redbeard). Harris, who was severely beaten in the Market Street Parking Garage, is alleging  conspiracy to discriminate and attack on the basis of race. DeAndre Harris v. Kessler, Spencer

Greg Conte v. Commonwealth of Virginia

Richard Spencer pal Conte and UTR attendee Warren Balogh named the VSP, former governor Terry McAuliffe, VSP Lieutenant Becky Crannis-Curl, Al Thomas, Mike Signer, Wes Bellamy, Emily Gorcenski, Seth Wispelwey, and Dwayne Dixon among the 16 defendants, and alleged First and 14th amendment violations. Also filed pro se. conte, balogh v. VA

Bill Burke v. James Fields et. al.

Bill Burke waits for the jury’s verdict at the James Fields trial. staff photo

The 19 named defendants include Jason Kessler, Richard Spencer, Matthew Heimbach, David Duke, Daily Stormer founder Andrew Anglin, plus John Doe and Jane Doe 1-1,000. Burke traveled from Ohio to protest the white supremacists who came to Charlottesville. He was injured when Fields drove into a crowd, and Heather Heyer died beside him. Claims RICO violations and conspiracy, and seeks $3 million on each count. burke v. fields

Karen Cullen and Amanda Bates v. Commonwealth of Virginia

The widows of Virginia State Police’s Berke Bates and Jay Cullen, who died in a helicopter crash August 12, both filed wrongful death lawsuits seeking $50 million each.


Quote of the week

“The temperature at the floor when they entered was 500 degrees.”—Charlottesville Fire Chief Andrew Baxter describes the August 18 Pet Paradise fire

In brief

$4-million sale

Hawes Spencer, former editor of C-VILLE and the Hook, sold the Downtown Mall building that houses Bizou for $4 million to Bizou owner Vincent Derquenne and developer Oliver Kuttner, who purchased the property as Walters Building LLC. Spencer bought the building, which housed the Hook offices, for $2.5 million in 2006.

Elliott Harding. publicity photo

Slimed by Kessler

Independent 25th District candidate Elliott Harding’s brief association with Jason Kessler came to light last week when Kessler posted messages from Harding, who reviewed Kessler’s petition to recall Wes Bellamy in 2017. Harding, a former chair of the Albemarle County Republican Committee, says he quickly saw what Kessler was about and has worked to prevent him from gaining a platform. “We’ve been at it ever since.”

Another statue suit

Norfolk, fighting to remove its own Confederate statue, filed a federal lawsuit arguing that Virginia’s law preventing a locality from removing a war memorial is unconstitutional and forces the city to perpetuate a message it no longer stands behind, violating its First and 14th amendment rights, the Virginian-Pilot reports. City councilors are also plaintiffs in the suit.

‘Hitler’s best friends’

Two weeks after city councilors were accused of aligning themselves with the Nazi dictator for rejecting a proposal to bring D.C. rapper Wale to Charlottesville, Kathy Galvin, Mike Signer, Heather Hill, and Wes Bellamy issued a joint statement condemning the “abusive environment” created by some attendees of council meetings. Bellamy also apologized for not initially defending his colleagues, saying “I genuinely don’t believe any of you are racist.”

Fatal infection

German shepherd Gunner died after a day of swimming in the Rivanna River, NBC29 reports. He contracted a bacterial disease called leptospirosis, which is transmitted in wet places where animals have urinated and can be deadly to humans as well.

More bad pet news

A fire broke out in Pet Paradise around 6:30pm August 18. Seventy-five animals were rescued from the Concord Avenue facility, but Pet Paradise is asking for help in locating two cats and a dog that were missing after the fire.

Beauregard splits 

Interim Deputy City Manager Leslie Beauregard is leaving after 16 years working in city government and will take a position as assistant city manager in Staunton October 7, the DP reports. Beauregard was best known for her budget work. She was put in an interim position under new City Manager Tarron Richardson’s reorganization of city hall.

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