Amid a lawsuit against them, militia groups return to Charlottesville’s Emancipation Park. The groups aimed to meet locals and clarify their goals and tactics during August’s fatal white nationalist rally.
George Curbelo and Christian Yingling, both named in the lawsuit along with their respective militias, spoke out to News2Share. They emphasized the distinction between themselves and any alt-right groups, and that they intended to be a neutral peacekeeper between the two sides on August 12th.
The lawsuit, filed by the Georgetown Law Institute for Advocacy and Protection, aims to prevent armed groups from returning to Charlottesville. It names left-wing, right-wing, and militia organizations and individuals as one set of co-defendants.
The City of Charlottesville joined as a co-plaintiff.
Emily Gorcenski, a transgender leftist activist who attended the August event armed, confirmed that she was “very grateful to be armed” on that day as a witness to the fatal car attack. She remains hesitant about the militia’s tactics but confirmed that she didn’t witness them engage in violence.
In an emotional moment, one clergy member teared up as she met Curbelo for the first time since the two stood in front of each other during the Charlottesville unrest.
Tanesha Hudson, a local clergy member and the organizer of the meetup, said that the militiamen were “the only ones who helped us that day.” She told the audience that she has a lawsuit planned against the police for failing to protect the citizens. Hudson emphasized that this event was planned weeks before the lawsuit against the militiamen was filed.