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Photo credits: Daniel Hosterman

This week, attorneys with the National Lawyers Guild Central Virginia chapter, working on behalf of Redneck Revolt, signed a consent decree which formally ends the City of Charlottesville’s lawsuit against Redneck Revolt related to the white supremacist rally on August 12, 2017. This decision was made after an unfavorable ruling by the Charlottesville Circuit Court on Redneck Revolt’s motion to dismiss the case or exclude them as defendants.

In their statement of defense of Redneck Revolt, National Lawyers Guild pointed out that “when white supremacists came to Charlottesville, anti-racist protesters did not let them run roughshod over the community’s principles. In contrast, the City of Charlottesville instructed its officers to stand down on August 12, 2017 and has since arrested and charged three local residents who were victims of white supremacist violence that day. The City now continues its attacks on those who supported our community that day with a targeted harassment lawsuit against Redneck Revolt, an anti-racist network committed to providing community defense to anti-racist demonstrators and their communities.” In the ten months the City has spent litigating this smoke and mirrors lawsuit, it has still failed to accept any public responsibility or hold itself accountable for its abject failure to protect the community from white supremacist violence, or to provide the public with any information about what it intends to do differently if a similar event were to take place in the future.

In fact, an investigation and 220 page report from a former US Attorney found that “an independent review of the circumstances surrounding an August rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that led to a woman's death found [that] police were unprepared and failed to protect the public.” In the months since the City of Charlottesville announced its lawsuit against the armed white supremacist groups who terrorized their city last August, many residents of Charlottesville have spoken out publicly and requested that Redneck Revolt be removed from the suit.

Congregate C’ville released a statement against the conflation of the anti-racist community defense group with the armed, dangerous white supremacists that actually threatened the Charlottesville community last summer. “There is a marked difference between the armed white supremacist groups who invaded Charlottesville with the intent to do harm and the armed anti-racist groups who came to Charlottesville to assist in supporting and protecting our most marginalized communities. According to many reports, Charlottesville officials grossly underestimated the threat to our community, leaving us vulnerable and without protection. Armed anti-racist groups showed up to protect those who were being overtly targeted by white supremacists. Additionally, Redneck Revolt provided protection during our Mass Prayer Service on August 11th, when white supremacists rallied with tiki torches across the street and we received threats describing mass violence at the service.”

NLG lawyers for Redneck Revolt had challenged the city’s authority to bring this type of harassment suit, but in the lead-up to the trial, the court ruled in favor of the City. The judge’s decision earlier this week to deny the motion to dismiss meant that the case would go to trial. Further, that meant that members of Redneck Revolt would need to be deposed, and that thousands of dollars would need to be spent on the legal defense. In accepting the settlement, Redneck Revolt is subject to some restrictions within the city of Charlottesville, but according to the judge's opinion ruling, "the individual defendants will still be able to come exercise their free speech rights, and assemble with each other, as well as carry a firearm, so long as such is openly carried (unless the person has a concealed weapon permit), and not concealed or brandished or used in a threatening way."