The Bulletin

Charlottesville organizers messaged about ‘raising an army’ and ‘the cracking of skulls’

By: - October 17, 2018 2:20 pm
On Aug. 12 last year white supremacist groups entered Emancipation Park holding Nazi, Confederate, and Gadsden "Don't Tread on Me" flags. (Anthony Crider/Creative Commons)

On Aug. 12, 2017, White supremacist groups entered Charlottesville’s Emancipation Park holding Nazi, Confederate, and Gadsden “Don’t Tread on Me” flags. (Anthony Crider/Creative Commons via Wikimedia)

While plenty of communications have surfaced about the violent intentions of the participants in the Aug. 12, 2017, white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, the event’s organizers have steadfastly maintained that their aims were peaceful and that they instructed participants to obey laws.

Court filings this week in a civil suit filed against organizers suggest otherwise.

“We’re raising an army my liege. For free speech, but the cracking of skulls if it comes to it,” wrote Charlottesville resident and rally organizer Jason Kessler to white nationalist leader Richard Spencer ahead of the rally.

The message is one of hundreds of communications contained in exhibits filed by Spencer in a civil suit against him, Kessler and other organizers.

The case, filed by counter protesters who say they were hurt during the event, alleges rally organizers conspired to foster racial hatred and are responsible for the injuries and death that followed.

Spencer’s text messages ahead of and after the event also offer a new window into the disarray and infighting that led up to and followed the event.

Spencer and organizer Eli Mosley mocked a Facebook post by Kessler seeking “applicants to induct into a secret order.”

“Dear God. He’s likely serious,” Spencer wrote. “After c ville, we need to drop him. He’s just stupid and weird.”

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Ned Oliver
Ned Oliver

Ned, a Lexington native, has been a fulltime journalist since 2008, beginning at The News-Gazette in Lexington, and including stints at the Berkshire Eagle, in Berkshire County, Mass., and the Times-Dispatch and Style Weekly in Richmond. He is a graduate of Bard College at Simon’s Rock, in Great Barrington, Mass. He was named Virginia's outstanding journalist for 2020 by the Virginia Press Association.