Fenwick to file lawsuit to indict those involved in white nationalist rallies

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Charlottesville City Councilor Bob Fenwick and four others have planned to bring forth legal action. The lawsuit will be filed against the people responsible for white nationalist demonstrations.

Fenwick referred to them as "invaders" and thinks a special grand jury can force some action.

“I think that the city generally is kind of anxious because they don't think too much is being done to bring these people to justice,” explained Fenwick.

Fenwick said he is doing it as a private citizen, not as an elected official. He is doing all this with the backing of a handful of people that are remaining anonymous right now.

“We hereby file a complaint about a public nuisance resulting in damage to the people of Charlottesville from the operations and tactics organized and conducted Jason Kessler; Richard Spencer, David Duke and their organization and connects,” said Fenwick.

The suit refers to Virginia Code § 48-1 that said five or more citizens can request a special grand jury to investigate a complaint made to the circuit court about a public or common nuisance.

Legal analyst Scott Goodman said this is an avenue that has never been used before in the City of Charlottesville, and a special grand jury could bring charges against those who previously have not been arrested.

“This grand jury process will allow perhaps additional indictments,” explained Goodman. “That will be criminal charges against people and have to answer in court.”

Along with arrests, Fenwick and supporters hope the special grand jury will lead to millions of dollars of restitution to be paid for things like police overtime and physical damage to the city. Goodman said this is possible.

“Part of any sentence can be requiring people involved and found guilty of being a nuisance or involved in military activity in the city as part of their sentence to have to pay back restitution or any damages,” said Goodman.

Fenwick said this lawsuit should be taken seriously.

“We're not just leaving our actions against the alt-right and the people who visited and damaged our city to public officials,” expressed Fenwick. “Ordinary citizens have rights and they have powers as well.”

Fenwick said he will file the suit Tuesday and announce the four people that are filing with him as well.

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