Long convicted of charge stemming from Unite the Right rally

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A man accused of using a homemade flamethrower against white nationalists during the Unite the Right rally on Aug. 12 has been found guilty.

Corey Long was convicted Friday morning of disorderly conduct. An assault charge against him was dismissed.

"It is what it is," said Long after his trial. "It's no sweat. Would I do it again? Hey you never know. But all lives matter. Black power."

Images from Aug. 12 show him using the flamethrower, which was aimed at a person holding a flagpole.

Long has been ordered to serve 20 days in jail and complete 100 hours of community service. Long's legal adviser, Malik Shabazz said the sentencing is wrong.

"I disagree that it was a violent act," said Shabazz. "It was clear that Mr. Long was trying to ward off a group of persons that have been committing violent acts all day."

A witness on the stand said he saw Long use a make-shift blow torch. The witness said white nationalist leader Richard Preston said "Kill the n****," referring to Long. Preston then fired a shot near Long's feet, but didn't hit anyone. Preston has already been convicted.

Imam Akbar, a member of the New Black Panther Party said Long's actions should have been his right.

"After one has shot at your feet what is ethical for you as a response. Do you have a stand your ground in the Commonwealth of Virginia?" said Akbar.

Protesters were gathered outside the courthouse, demanding that the charges against Long be dropped. One protester, Reverend Brittany Caine-Conley, said she believes the court and white supremacists are working together.

"White supremacists have been leveraging our court system to attack people of color in the aftermath of the events here on Aug. 12," she said.

The Drop the Charges Campaign, made up of members of Black Lives Matter-Charlottesville, Congregate Charlottesville, Showing Up for Racial Justice-Charlottesville and others, released the following statement on the conviction:

We are outraged that Corey Long has been convicted for simply asserting his humanity in the face of white supremacist violence. After August 12, thousands of people across the country celebrated Corey’s image as a symbol of resistance to the violent white supremacist incursion on Charlottesville. Now Corey has been convicted by Commonwealth Attorney Joe Platania and the courts of a crime for his brave actions to protect Charlottesville. What hypocrisy. We cannot accept a system of “justice” that allows white supremacists to physically attack a community and then also helps them target their victims in court. Joe Platania must stop cooperating with white supremacists and drop the remaining charges against Donald Blakney, the other Black man he is prosecuting for similar reasons. We cannot let our government be used to further the fascist agenda.



 
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