In the never-ending string of court cases stemming from this year’s run-ins with white supremacists and neo-Nazis, 15 people went before a judge October 30 for charges brought against them during the July 8 Ku Klux Klan rally in Justice Park.
Approximately 50 members of the Loyal White Knights of the KKK, a North Carolina-based group, dropped by over the summer to protest the tearing down of the General Robert E. Lee statue—and were met by intense opposition in the form of hundreds of angry counterprotesters. Just over 20 people were arrested that day, primarily for obstruction of justice and free passage.
Kandace Baker was among those in Charlottesville General District Court October 30.
After pleading not guilty to obstruction of justice, she testified that she was looking for her husband near Justice Park around 4pm when a Virginia State Police trooper told her an unlawful assembly had been declared and she needed to leave the area. Baker tried several times to turn and walk back through the alley she initially came through, but the officer pushed her and would not allow her to exit the way she entered, she said. He arrested her and another VSP trooper “dragged [her]” to the courthouse to press charges, she said.
Though Judge Robert Downer said he had probable cause to believe she was obstructing justice, he said he’s not sure she’s guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and he let her off the hook.
“Just because you make their job a little more difficult, that’s not enough for obstruction of justice,” Downer said.
He dropped charges against nine counterprotesters who were arrested for obstructing free passage at the rally, likely in a demonstration where several anti-white supremacists linked arms in front of a gate that police planned to usher the robed Klan members through. These people include Kendall Bills, Cameron Bills, Jo Donahue, John Neavear, Nic McCarthy, Jeanne Peterson, Evan Viglietta, Whitney Whitting and Sara Tansey, who wore teal lipstick and matching tights to court in true Halloween fashion.
Tansey was found guilty of destruction of property in the same court October 16 for nabbing homegrown white rights advocate Jason Kessler’s phone while he was live-streaming a Corey Stewart rally in Emancipation Park February 11.
Also on October 30, Morgan Niles and Erika Ries pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and were both sentenced to 30 days in jail, with all of that substituted for 40 hours of community service.
Three people had their cases continued. Tracye Redd, also charged with obstruction of justice, will appear December 1. Jarrell Jones, charged with assault and battery, and Rashaa Langston, charged with failing to disperse in a riot, will be back in court March 5.