White Supremacist Sues Charlottesville Over Denied Rally Permit

Mar 7, 2018

The organizer of the white supremacist rally this past summer in Charlottesville has filed a lawsuit against the city, alleging that his constitutional rights were violated.  

On Monday, police kicked Jason Kessler out of a city council meeting after refusing to leave the podium once his public speaking time had finished.

On Tuesday, Kessler filed a not totally unrelated lawsuit. It alleges that the city last year discriminated against him by denying his permit application for a second rally this coming summer.

In this frame from video, Jason Kessler, a blogger based in Charlottesville, speaks to the media on Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017.
Credit (AP Photo)

Kessler opposes the city’s attempt to remove a large Jim Crow-era statue of Robert E. Lee in a downtown park. Last summer he organized a rally that brought hundreds of people to Charlottesville, including many white supremacists and counter-protesters. Three people died, and dozens more were injured.

In November, Kessler applied for a permit to host an anniversary rally this coming August 11th and 12th. But in December, the city denied the permit. In his lawsuit, Kessler alleges that this is because he is pro-white advocate, and that the city disagrees with his message. Kessler states that the city’s permit refusal constrains his constitutional right to free speech.

On his website, Kessler writes that regardless of the lawsuit’s outcome: “…a wiser, more veteran group of the most dedicated activists in America will be in Lee Park August 12th.”