Charlottesville sues to stop 'private militia groups' from holding rallies

Charlottesville sues to stop 'private militia groups' from holding rallies

Charlottesville, Va., and several local businesses have joined a lawsuit against white supremacists and “private militia groups” to prevent them from holding rallies in the city.

Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP) filed the complaint in the Circuit Court for the City of Charlottesville alleging that the groups violated state laws against private militias. The Charlottesville City Council voted to join the lawsuit Thursday, according to the Daily Progress.

“Virginia law clearly reflects the American tradition that private armies are anathema to a well-organized society,” ICAP senior litigator Mary McCord said in a statement.

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“To the self-professed militia purporting to function as peacekeepers, the law is clear in Virginia, as it is in many states: ‘in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.’”

The complaint alleges that the white supremacist groups “came to Charlottesville to fight” and were organized “not ‘as individuals’ exercising their Second Amendment rights to self-defense, but ‘as members of a fighting force.’”

The lawsuit notes the militia group members carried assault rifles as they marched and were equipped "to inflict massive harm upon a moment’s notice from their commanders.”

“Whatever their stated intentions, these groups terrified local residents and caused attendees to mistake them for authorized military personnel,” the complaint reads.

The complaint seeks to prevent defendants from returning to Charlottesville for another protest.

Groups including the Traditionalist Worker Party, Vanguard America and the Virginian Minutemen Militia were named as defendants. The suit also names Jason Kessler and Eli Mosley, two of the organizers of the “Unite the Right” rally held in Charlottesville in August.

One woman was killed and dozens more were injured when a car, driven by a man police say has ties to white supremacist groups, plowed through counterprotesters at the rally.