Last week I teased some big news and here it is! I’m finally ready to deliver on a promise I made to you all back in November. On Tuesday, my attorney Elmer Woodard filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Charlottesville for denying my permit for the Unite the Right Anniversary Rally. We’re asking that the court recognize our first amendment rights and grant our permit for August 12th, 2018 rally in Lee Park.
(NOTE: This lawsuit is not related to the counterclaims we plan to file in the Sines v. Kessler or Charlottesville v. Lightfoot Militia cases. Those will be released at the tactically proper time.)
BREAKING NEWS! Yesterday I filed a federal lawsuit against the #Charlottesville government for denying my August 12th, 2018 Unite the Right Anniversary Rally permit. Read all about it here:https://t.co/lBkAKtjUoD
— Jason Kessler (@TheMadDimension) March 7, 2018
As you may remember, the Charlottesville government attempted to deny the permit back on December 11th. It was the first permit application ever rejected in Charlottesville history (although they also rejected several other applications for August 12th filed in response to mine). Among the reasons cited for the rejection was the city’s inability to “keep opposing sides separate and…leave a clear path into the event without fear of violence.” A highly dubious claim considering that other localities around the country have been doing this for years.
The denial letter also claimed that, “the application likely underestimates the number of participants.” Just like last year I listed attendance on the application as 400, which was a fairly decent estimate. During my research for this lawsuit I was able to pull up several permit applications for multiculturalism festivals held in Lee Park including the ‘Festival of Cultures’ (estimated attendance 3,000) and ‘Cville Pride’ (estimated attendance 4,000!). Of course, the key difference is that white rights aren’t allowed a platform but white replacement is. This is where the Charlottesville government’s fixation on removing the Robert E Lee monument gets to the heart of the matter.
They also cited a time frame in which the park was partially closed (they’ve never used that as a reason to deny before and have always politely corrected and approved other applicants) as well as an unconstitutional request for insurance.
I’ve struggled through enormous personal adversity and financial cost to ensure that we have an opportunity to do this thing over again and do it right. Late last year an Independent Review commissioned by the City Council itself found that Charlottesville failed to protect either public safety or free speech rights at the original Unite the Right. In fact, the denial of our rights was a stated objective and former Police Chief Al Thomas told his subordinates, “Let them fight. It will make it easier to declare an unlawful assembly.”
Instead of less than a week to litigate this permit issue (like last time) we’re going to start this process 5 months in advance. Hopefully the result will be much less uncertainty in the time leading up to the rally and a clear set of instructions about what is expected from police and attendees.
All Americans who believe in the Constitution should support the rights of Unite the Right activists. We cannot allow a precedent to be set where a government can trample on our rights, blame us for it and we take it lying down. I’m sure that part of the calculus in sabotaging the original rally came down to a concerted decision on the part of City Council that paying astronomical legal fees would be worth stopping us from being able to speak. Well, that has failed and one way or the other we’re coming back.
We must not conduct this rally with the same naivete we had before. Anyone attending should be aware of not only how vital it is for upholding our rights but also the dire consequences of bad behavior. Regardless… a wiser, more veteran group of the most dedicated activists in America will be in Lee Park August 12th. We will not allow ourselves to be subjugated by our would-be oppressors. They’ve thrown everything they had at us in the aftermath of UTR and they have failed.
Read our lawsuit below and donate to support our ongoing civil rights litigation.
[pdf-embedder url=”https://jasonkessler.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Permit-Complaint-2018.pdf” title=”Permit Complaint 2018″]
Be sure to subscribe to the Official Unite the Right Podcast for all the latest news and information on the rally. I’m hoping to make this a much more transparent process this time around and I’ll be happy to answer your questions on the air.