In brief: Activist fined, white supremacist jailed, and more

Organizers could be fined for events that happened weeks or months ago, according to City Manager Tarron Richardson. PC: Zack Wajsgras Organizers could be fined for events that happened weeks or months ago, according to City Manager Tarron Richardson. PC: Zack Wajsgras

Cracking down

Just days after a Kenosha police officer shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back, sparking national outrage and protests, City Manager Tarron Richardson decided to crack down on gatherings in Charlottesville—targeting those organized by Black residents.

While Richardson supports the right to “peaceably assemble” amidst the pandemic, he explained in a press release Thursday evening that “obstructing city streets and using parks without the proper permits will no longer be allowed.”

The city also will begin fining organizers for events that happened weeks or months ago. Rob Gray, who helped plan a Juneteenth celebration in Washington Park, received a $500 fine, and the Black Joy Fest and the Reclaim the Park celebration held last month at city parks are currently under review.

In a letter sent to Gray last week, Richardson claimed he had discussed the city’s ordinance on COVID-19 restrictions with him the day before Juneteenth, explaining that the city was not issuing special use permits for events held in public parks, and that gatherings of 50 or more were banned. But Gray refused to cancel his event, and agreed in advance to pay the civil penalty.

Though Richardson didn’t name names, it sure seems like the warning was meant for Black activists Rosia Parker and Katrina Turner, who planned a Friday night march from the city police department to Tonsler Park in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. He threatened to issue them citations for not having a special event permit, but the pair took to the streets anyway, along with 30 or so other protesters.

“They won’t shut me up,” Parker tweeted shortly after the press release came out.

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Quote of the week

Today, we are marching for criminal justice reform. Today, we are marching to end police brutality. Today, we are marching for the right to be seen as human.

Richmond activist Tavorise Marks at the August 28 Commitment March on Washington, held in honor of the 57th anniversary of the original march.

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In brief

FourFiveSignatures

After gathering the required 5,000 signatures, Kanye West has qualified for the November ballot as an independent presidential candidate in Virginia. But the Washington Post reports that some of those signers felt they were hoodwinked into signing in favor of West, and that representatives from the campaign misrepresented how their signatures would be used. It’s unclear how the controversy might affect West’s floundering run.

Tech check

Senator Mark Warner stopped by the new WillowTree offices in Woolen Mills last week to celebrate the completion of the 80,000 square-foot office renovation. Meanwhile, downtown, construction of the CODE building chugs along, with some new COVID-friendly tweaks—to keep ventilation going, the building’s windows will now actually open, a feature that wasn’t initially planned.

Jail cases

Seven inmates total have now tested positive for COVID-19 at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. Pointing to severe outbreaks in nearby correctional facilities, Defund Cville Police sent a letter to the ACRJ demanding the jail ramp up its testing procedures, distribute more hygiene products to inmates, and halt all new admissions to the facility.

Harassment sentence

Daniel McMahon, whose online harassment and racist threats caused activist Don Gathers to suspend his 2019 City Council campaign, has been sentenced for his crimes. The Florida-based man will spend 41 months in federal prison and, upon release, serve a three-year probation during which he won’t be allowed to use the internet without court supervision.

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