3 arrested at gathering denouncing Confederate torch protest

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP, WHSV) — Police say three people were arrested near a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee in Virginia after hundreds of community members gathered to denounce the previous night's protest by torch-carrying white nationalists

Photo credit: Newsplex

Sunday's candlelit gathering in Charlottesville was held in response to the smaller demonstration led Saturday by white nationalist Richard Spencer. He wants authorities to block the Confederate statue's planned removal.

Over 100 people were there to rally for equality and they said Spencer has no business being in Charlottesville.

"This is Charlottesville," said Don Gathers, former Blue Ribbon Commission chair. "We're black, we're white, we're Asian, we're Latino, we're LGBTQ, and this is our town."

"You will not come in here and dictate anything through us, through threats, and intimidation," he added.

Local blogger, Jason Kessler was arrested Sunday night for disorderly conduct.

Kessler is the man who spearheaded the movement to remove Charlottesville Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy from city council, has been very vocal in his support for the Lee and Jackson statues to remain in their respective parks, and was sentenced last week for punching a man in the face on the Downtown Mall.

Kessler tweeted Monday saying "I'm okay, fam. I was released on bail for 'disorderly conduct'. #SaveLeeandJackson.

Kessler was arrested for not obeying officer's commands to leave the area as well as inciting others while using a bull horn.

Kessler will be in court Wednesday morning at 9.

Jordan McNeish, 28, of Afton was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. Mcneish was arrested for spitting on Jason Kessler.

Charles Best, 21, of Richmond is charged with a felony for assaulting law enforcement and two misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and carrying a concealed weapon.

One of the officers at the rally was struck in the head with an object, causing minor injuries. Best was identified by police as the person who threw the object and was taken in to custody. While conducting a search, police say an automatic opening knife was found.

Best appeared in Charlottesville General District Court, via video, Monday morning. He was granted a $5,000 bond and pre-trial supervision.

Best will be back in court June 22 at 1 p.m.


Charlottesville City Council voted in April to put the state up for sale upon its removal and hold a contest to rename Lee Park.

All of this comes in the midst of a lawsuit filed by The Monument Fund, the Sons of Confederate Veterans and about a dozen private citizens to halt the statue removal process

On May 3, a Charlottesville judge granted part of a temporary injunction in that case, saying that the statue cannot be moved for a period of six months.