Charge dropped against former teacher who tackled 'Unite the Right' organizer

Published: Jul. 29, 2019 at 10:25 AM EDT
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A disorderly conduct charge has been dropped against a Shenandoah Valley woman who tackled an organizer of the deadly 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville during a chaotic press conference.

the charge against Phoebe Stevens was dismissed Friday as she has completed her community service requirements. Stevens was one of four people charged with assaulting Jason Kessler the day after the "Unite the Right" rally.

Kessler tried to hold a press conference a day after the rally descended into deadly violence with James Alex Fields Jr.'s murder of Heather Heyer, but protesters quickly mobbed him, ending the conference early as Virginia State Police escorted him away.

Two men were arrested on charges of assaulting him and a third was charged with misdemeanor assault for spitting on Kessler.

Stevens testified in 2018 that she attended Kessler's conference even though she disagreed with his beliefs. She said she couldn't hear him and so went to the front of the conference where she grabbed Kessler to "save" him from a surge of angry onlookers.

Stevens' charge was later downgraded through a court agreement, and she's now eligible to have the charge expunged.

At the time of the rally, an online school directory listed Stevens as a French teacher at Wilson Memorial High School in Fishersville.

When asked for a comment at that time about her status at the school, administrators said they could not comment on personnel matters. As of 2019, Stevens is no longer listed as a faculty member.