A judge just sent a Charlottesville protester to jail for defending himself against gun-toting Klansmen

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Though the memories of the horrifying Charlottesville “Unite the Right” hate rally and the murder of activist Heather Heyer by a neo-Nazi have long faded from a public consciousness that is inundated with an incessant barrage of heart-wrenching news and trite distraction, the trials of those involved on that fateful day are wrapping up.

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While several of the biggest perpetrators of violence, like Jacob Scott Goodwin and Alex Ramos, who were caught on camera beating African-American man DeAndre Harris with a club, have been found guilty and sentenced to jail, it’s clear that the local authorities are intent on punishing both protestors and Nazis for their role in the disturbance.

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In a disturbing miscarriage of justice that quite frankly reeks of racial bias, Judge Downer of Virginia’s 16th Judicial District decided to find Corey Long guilty of “disorderly conduct”  and sentenced him to jail for his efforts to defend himself against a gun-toting Klansmen.

Corey Long is the African-American man who was immortalized in the now infamous picture of him using an improvised flamethrower to keep a horde of braying white supremacists away from the old man to his right.

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Local journalist Molly (@socialistdogmom) live-tweeted the events of the trial and was appalled to find that the judge decided to “send a message” to Long for improvising a flamethrower after Ku Klux Klan Imperial Wizard Richard Preston pulled out his gun and fired at the ground around him – which Preston plead guilty to doing.

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Video of the incident makes it clear the flames were nowhere near close to striking anybody, but the judge sentenced him to 360 days in prison (340 days suspended), two years of probation, and 100 hours of community service.

Judge Downer notably went against the recommendations of the prosecutors, who declared that no incarceration was appropriate – but Downer refused to pass up the opportunity to send a message to black Americans: resist white supremacy, and pay the price.




The Charlottesville police have faced widespread criticism for going out of their way to protect the white supremacists rather than the protesters during the riot, which led directly to the murder of Heather Heyer.

That fondness for racists was on full display today, as hate rally organizer Jason Kessler – who called Heather Heyer a “fat, disgusting communist” after her murder – was given a full police escort to and from the courthouse, which was not afforded to his victims.

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It’s an oft-ignored but painfully obvious fact that American law enforcement agencies have been steadily infiltrated by white supremacists and open racists for decades now – according to the FBI’s own investigation – and it’s clear that Judge Downer doesn’t approve of protesting white supremacy one bit.

Welcome to America, where a black man can’t take a stand against naked racism without being sent to jail for it.

Thanks to Molly on Twitter. Support her critical work here!

Featured image from the Daily Progress.


Colin Taylor

Managing Editor

Colin Taylor is the managing editor of the Washington Press. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice, equality, and universal health care in America.

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