Kessler files petition to recall Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy from City Council

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- Jason Kessler stepped up to the microphone Thursday morning, announcing he has enough signatures to prompt a recall hearing against Vice-Mayor Wes Bellamy .

"The number I'm told by my legal team in 527," said Kessler.

His numerical figure was met with skepticism by some. When asked who exactly his legal team is, Kessler would not comment.

He says he wants Bellamy removed because of offensive tweets Bellamy posted years before he took office.

"Wes Bellamy said white women are the devil," said Kessler. "If a white man had said that black women were the devil, he'd be gone."

Kessler also criticizes Bellamy for initially calling for the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in Lee Park.

"I also think he's been a tyrant in office trying to remove the statue," said Kessler. "Saying that he's going after Thomas Jefferson next."

Bellamy is not the only one who wants the statue removed. A majority of the city council members voted to move it earlier this month in a 3-2 vote.

One local group says Kessler is motivated by white nationalism. The group Showing Up For Racial Justice,or SURJ, boycotted the conference, but released a statement calling Kessler a "white supremacist" who is only attacking Bellamy because he is black.

The statement read in part, "...he has very few people willing to show up in person to support his racist agenda" and his press conference was only attended by a handful of supporters, invitation only.

Kessler says Bellamy is the one who is dividing the community. Kessler says he started his campaign against Bellamy after Bellamy boycotted against Doug Muir, the University of Virginia professor who called the Black Lives Matter movement racist on Facebook.

"He's violated people's civil rights, he's created a hostile working environment on city council, and he's divided the community," Kessler said.

These appear to be strong words coming from a man who's walked by Bellamy, but admits to never having spoken to him.

"I don't think it's acceptable for me to meet Wes Bellamy in his current capacity," said Kessler. "If he steps down and accepts responsibility like a man, I'd be happy to talk to him."

Kessler, members of Unity & Security for America, a political action group, and supporters marched through Court Square, passing another controversial statue, right into the doors of Charlottesville Circuit Court.

Kessler and Republican gubernatorial candidate Corey Stewart hand delivered the petition hoping a special prosecutor will investigate Bellamy and ultimately remove him from the city council.

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