Legal Organizations Ask Local and State Officials to Investigate Police Response to Klan Counter-Protest
Charlottesville, Va., July 17, 2017—Today, the Legal Aid Justice Center, Rutherford Institute, ACLU of Virginia, and Central Virginia chapter of the National Lawyers Guild call on the Governor and officials for the City of Charlottesville to investigate the outsized and militaristic governmental response to those who chose to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights to assemble in public and engage in peaceful, nonviolent protests.
The legal organizations ask local and state officials to:
- acknowledge that the deliberate choice to use warzone tactics on July 8th—instead of planning for de-escalation—is inconsistent with Charlottesville’s values and good policing;
- authorize and initiate an independent investigation into law enforcement’s actions before, during and after the permitted demonstration on July 8th to determine whether any actions were unlawful; and
- ensure accountability for any unlawful tactics used, whether by the Charlottesville Police Department (CPD) or the Virginia State Police (VSP).
About the Legal Aid Justice Center
The Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC) fights injustice in the lives of individual Virginians while rooting out exploitative policies and practices that keep people in poverty. LAJC uses impact litigation, community organizing, and policy advocacy to solve urgent problems in areas such as housing, education, civil rights, immigration, healthcare and consumer finance. LAJC’s primary service areas are Charlottesville, Northern Virginia, Richmond and Petersburg, but the effects of their work are felt statewide.
About the Rutherford Institute
The Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit civil liberties organization, provides legal assistance at no charge to individuals whose constitutional rights have been threatened or violated and educates the public on a wide spectrum of issues affecting their freedoms. Founded in 1982 by constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead, the Institute’s mission is twofold: to provide legal services in the defense of civil liberties and to educate the public on important issues affecting their constitutional freedoms.
About ACLU of Virginia
The ACLU of Virginia promotes civil liberties and civil rights for everyone in the Commonwealth through public education, litigation and advocacy with the goal of securing freedom and equality for all. For more information on the ACLU of Virginia go to https://acluva.org.
About the National Lawyers Guild
The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) is the nation’s oldest and largest progressive bar association and was the first in the U.S. to be racially integrated. The Central Virginia NLG Chapter is committed to using the law for the people by uniting lawyers, law students, legal workers, and jailhouse lawyers to function as an effective force in the service of the people by valuing human rights over property interests. NLG–Central Virginia (VA) is dedicated to advancing, among others, the following objectives: to dismantle racism; to bring together all those who recognize the importance of safeguarding and extending the rights of workers, women, LGBTQIA people, immigrants, people with disabilities, and people of color; to maintain and protect civil rights and liberties in the face of persistent attacks upon them; and to use the law as an instrument for the protection of the people, rather than for their repression.