Community members in Charlottesville were outraged over the weekend following the high-profile conviction of a Black man stemming from the violent “Unite The Right” rally last August.
Twenty to thirty demonstrators gathered Friday (June 8) outside of a local park after activist Corey Long was ordered to do 20 days in jail for defending himself using a makeshift flamethrower against White supremacists during the 2017 rally. Seven Charlottesville activists were arrested for blocking a roadway during the protest as they supported Long, who was found guilty of disorderly conduct, The Daily Progress, a local news outlet, reported.
Chants of “Corey Long did nothing wrong” filled the air during the protest.
One of the arrested protesters was Star Peterson, a wheelchair-bound activist who suffered major injuries when she was run over in the car attack that killed Heather Heyer and injured about three dozen other people during the rally on August 12. Peterson, along with the other activists, was released early Saturday morning.
The activists were willing to risk jail time in order to support Long, who had only defended himself against violent marchers. Long sprayed an aerosol can to get two people who were shouting racist slurs at him to retreat during the rally, according to The Daily Progress. He also used a lighter and the aerosol can as an improvised flamethrower for protection.
A judge presented a different assessment of the situation, saying that Long had “disrupted the peace” with his actions. Community members, however, disagreed and believe that Long acted in self-defense. Another Black man, DeAndre Harris, was severely beaten by White supremacists following the rally and charged with assault before he was acquitted in March.
Long was also ordered to perform 100 hours of community service, according to the news outlet.