Arrests Made in Gun Firing, Beating of Counter-Protester in Charlottesville

More than two weeks after the Aug. 12 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., that turned deadly after counter-protesters were run over, police have been making arrests in viral video of violence by other demonstrators.

Richard Wilson Preston, 52, was arrested Saturday after a video released by the ACLU showed him walking out of Emancipation Park with fellow white nationalists as counter-protesters yelled at them to go home. A man shouts “Hey n—-r” before firing a small handgun into the crowd.

Preston was taken to the Baltimore County Detention Center in Towson, Md., and is charged with firing a gun within 1,000 feet of a school.

In the background of the video is the flaming spray paint can photo that went viral:

Corey Long, a 23-year-old elder care worker from Charlottesville, told The Root that “at first it was peaceful protest, until someone pointed a gun at my head. Then the same person pointed it at my foot and shot the ground.”

Long said he lit the spray paint can, which had been thrown at him earlier by a white supremacist, as the crowd closed in. The elderly man in the photo behind Long, he said, was a counter-protester who was being threatened by the white nationalists. Long said he and his friends were trying to protect the man from that crowd.

“The cops were protecting the Nazis, instead of the people who live in the city,” Long said. “The cops basically just stood in their line and looked at the chaos. The cops were not protecting the people of Charlottesville. They were protecting the outsiders.”

Two men have been charged in the vicious, viral beating of Deandre Harris, a 20-year-old elementary school special-ed assistant who was attacked in a parking garage near the Charlottesville Police Department.

Daniel Patrick Borden, 18, was arrested Friday and was being held at the Hamilton County Criminal Justice Center in Cincinnati on charges of malicious wounding related to an aggravated assault. Alex Michael Ramos, 33, with a last known address in Marietta, Ga., is wanted on a malicious wounding charge.

“With information including affiliated organizations, clear photographs and recordings, it is disappointing that the combined efforts of federal and local agencies have failed to lead to either the identification or arrest of additional suspects,” Harris’ attorney, S. Lee Merritt, said in a statement.

Merritt’s office said that Long had been arguing with a white supremacist over the Confederate flag he was carrying, and Harris “intervened just as the white supremacist attempted to spear Long with the flag’s pole and several militant supremacists began to charge in their direction.”

Merritt’s office noted that after being chased into the parking garage, Harris was knocked down by a man carrying the shield of Vanguard America, the neo-Nazi group with whom James Alex Fields, 20, of Ohio was protesting before he allegedly plowed his car into counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer. Vanguard America has denied he was a member.

Christopher Cantwell, who was featured in a Vice News segment reporting from the rally, turned himself in last week on warrants from University of Virginia police in connection to the Aug. 11 torchlit rally on campus. Cantwell was denied bail on two felony counts of illegal use of tear gas and one felony count of malicious bodily injury with a caustic substance.

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