The American Civil Liberties Union issued a new policy on Thursday, claiming the organization would not represent hate groups that demonstrate with firearms. According to ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the ACLU will implement stricter screenings and take legal requests from white supremacist groups only on a case-by-case basis.
“The events of Charlottesville require any judge, any police chief and any legal group to look at the facts of any white-supremacy protests with a much finer comb,” Romero told the Journal. “If a protest group insists, ‘No, we want to be able to carry loaded firearms,’ well, we don’t have to represent them. They can find someone else.”
The ACLU received much criticism and flak after it filed a lawsuit in defense of the organizers planning the “Unite the Right” rally Saturday in Charlottesville after city officials originally denied them a permit to hold the rally around a statue of Robert E. Lee designated for removal. The group was ultimately granted the permit for the rally, which later turned violent and resulted in the death of Heather Heyer, while also leaving more than a dozen injured.
“But, let’s be clear: Our lawsuit challenging the city to act constitutionally did not cause violence nor did it in any way address the question whether demonstrators could carry sticks or other weapons at the events,” Virginia ACLU Executive Director Claire Gastanaga said in a statement earlier this week.
Skepticism is also being leveled at Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer (D), as details about his efforts to resist the Trump administration are coming to light.
On Tuesday, questions were raised about how current Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) prepared for the rally that was set to take place in Charlottesville on Saturday. Then, on Wednesday, a new report by the Daily Caller News Foundation called into question Mayor Mike Signer’s actions, as well.
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