Convictions on both sides of Confederate campaign rally
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — A 65-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman who faced off at a Confederate monuments rally held by a former Republican gubernatorial candidate have both been convicted after a confrontation over a cellphone.
The dispute happened in February in Charlottesville during a rally for Corey Stewart, who supports the monuments.
News outlets report that Sara Michel Tansey was convicted Monday of destruction of property for taking Jason Kessler’s cellphone. He was using his phone to livestream the rally.
Joseph Draego was convicted of assault for using excessive force in retrieving Kessler’s cellphone.
Tansey received a $50 fine, which was suspended, plus court costs. Draego received a $100 fine, plus court costs.
Draego denied using excessive force at his hearing and has appealed his conviction.
At the time of the rally, Stewart, who chairs the Board of Supervisors in Prince William County, was running an upstart primary campaign for governor. He lost the nomination to Ed Gillespie, but fared better than predicted after making preservation of Confederate memorials a prominent issue. Stewart is now running for U.S. Senate.
Stewart’s raucous campaign rallies in Charlottesville preceded the “Unite the Right” rally in August that drew large numbers of white nationalists and white supremacists and even larger numbers of counterprotesters. One counterprotester, Heather Heyer, was killed when she was run over by a car.