(Ken Silva, Headline USA) The men who participated in the infamous 2017 Charlottesville torch march are bracing for mass arrests after three of them were charged last month under a little-used law that makes it a crime to burn objects with intent to intimidate.
Indictments were unsealed last month against three of the alleged torch marchers—Tyler Bradley Dykes, Dallas Medina and Will Zachary Smith—nearly six years after the fact.
The previous Charlottesville D.A., Robert Tracci, had declined to press charges. But his replacement, the Soros-backed Charlottesville district attorney, Jim Hingeley, made it a campaign promise to prosecute torch-carriers, and there is no statute of limitations for felonies in Virginia.
White nationalist blogs and message forums are abuzz in response to the indictments, expecting mass arrests in a Jan. 6-like prosecutorial crackdown.
“A Soros-backed prosecutor has fulfilled his campaign promise by bringing meritless charges against attendees of a 6-year-old political demonstration, which was coordinated with law enforcement,” wrote white nationalist Christopher Cantwell.
“Since then, a few names have been released, and we can expect more to follow. There is a distinct possibility I may be one of them.”
The torch marchers have expressed pessimism about being arrested, but optimism about ultimately being acquitted.
“A reasonable summation of the situation might be: ‘If you are doxed and known to have held a torch at the demonstration, you might be arrested in the near future and should plan for the possibility. If you have not been identified as a participant or did not touch a torch, you probably are safe for now,” someone wrote on the blog Full Haus, which markets itself as “the world’s finest show for white fathers.”
Full Haus said the charges should ultimately be defeated in court because “there was zero intent via the organizers or the rank and file to seek out or confront any specific group or individual.”
“Holding a tiki-torch burning, self-contained citronella fuel while walking on public property regardless of slogans is not remotely in the same category as burning a large wooden cross in front of your black neighbor’s house,” the blog said, referring to the slogans such as “you will not replace us” and “blood and soil.”
“Due process and First Amendment issues will jump off the page of any lawyer who agrees to fight this.”
The Charlottesville rally turned deadly the day after the torch march, when a man rammed his vehicle into a group of counterprotesters and killed a woman. The driver, James Alex Fields Jr., was convicted of murder and given life imprisonment.
The law being used to pursue the peaceful protestors from the night before was enacted by the state in 2002 in response to Ku Klux Klan cross-burnings. It was challenged all the way to the Supreme Court, which ultimately found the law constitutional in a 6-3 vote.
Individuals convicted under the law face one to five years imprisonment.
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.