Platania will not drop charges against Harris, others

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A local prosecutor says he will not drop charges against three people accused of violent acts on Aug. 12.

Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney Joe Platania says his office has received numerous requests to drop the charges against Donald Blakney, Deandre Harris and Corey Long, including calls from local activists groups for the charges to be dropped.

Blakney is facing a malicious wounding charge in connection with an incident that occurred near Emancipation Park during the Unite the Right rally.

Harris was originally charged with malicious wounding, which was downgraded to assault and battery, for an incident at the Market Street parking garage following the rally.

He was also severely beaten inside the parking garage, and several people are facing charges for that.

Long is facing assault and battery and disorderly conduct charges for allegedly pointing a makeshift flamethrower at white nationalists near Emancipation Park.

According to a statement from Platania's office, many people have spoken about the trauma inflicted on Charlottesville during several events this past summer, and such public feedback is an important part of the justice system.

However, it goes on to read that allegations involving physical violence against another person mean the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office works with law enforcement to evaluate all admissible evidence related to the reported incident before a decision to charge and prosecute can be made.

"A prosecutor should always strive to apply the law to the facts of each case without bias or favor. Charging decisions and subsequent prosecutions must be undertaken without regard to gender, race, ethnicity or political ideology," added the statement. "Public safety and confidence in the fair and impartial administration of justice depend upon even-handed accountability for those who violate our laws."

Platania says people who perpetrate violence in the community must be held accountable for their actions.

All three cases will continue to move forward in the court system, including a hearing on Thursday in Blakney's case.

There are also numerous other cases and charges against many other people associated with the Unite the Right rally that are moving forward.



 
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