Corey Long, the black man captured in the most iconic photo from the white nationalist march on Charlottesville, Va., two months ago, has been arrested on charges of assault and battery and disorderly conduct.
Police Lt. Stephen Upman, a Charlottesville police spokesman, said that the disorderly conduct charge is related to the makeshift flamethrower Long was seen using in the photo, and the assault and battery charge is related to a separate skirmish during the rally.
Long is the second black counterprotester to be arrested in connection with the Charlottesville melee. The Los Angeles Times reports that Charlottesville police investigators arrested Long, 23, of Culpeper, Va., on Friday. A second man, DeAndre Harris, who had his head beaten in by white supremacists, was arrested a day before on charges of “unlawful wounding,” as previously reported by The Root.
In an exclusive interview with The Root shortly after the rally, Long said that he acted in self-defense and was protecting an old man sitting next to him, who was being attacked by scores of white supremacists. As The Root reported:
“At first it was peaceful protest,” Long said softly as he spoke. “Until someone pointed a gun at my head. Then the same person pointed it at my foot and shot the ground.”
Long said the only weapon he had was a can of spray paint that a white supremacist had thrown at him earlier, so he took a lighter to the spray paint and turned it into a flamethrower. And a photographer snapped the photo.
The police, he said, did nothing.
There is also another photograph of that moment that clearly shows a white supremacist marcher holding a gun and pointing it in Long’s direction. That man, Richard Wilson Preston, 52, was arrested in August and charged with discharging a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school, according to the Times, but only after a video provided by the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia was given to the FBI. Preston faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
Long was released on an unsecured bond Friday and referred all questions to his attorney, Malik Zulu Shabazz, national president of the Black Lawyers for Justice and former national chairman of the New Black Panther Party.
The Times reports that in August, two of Harris’ alleged attackers—Alex Michael Ramos, 33, and Daniel Borden, 18—were arrested after they were identified by activists through video and social media, and earlier this week, a third man, Jacob Goodwin, 22, was also arrested in Harris’ attack.
So, for those keeping score, two black counterprotesters—who clearly, in the eyes of most sane people, were acting in self-defense—have been arrested in Virginia, and four white supremacists have been, too.
The fifth white supremacist arrested, of course, was James Alex Fields Jr., who is charged with driving a car through a crowd of counterprotesters and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring at least 19 others.
Guess Virginia police are taking the Trumpian stance of blaming “both sides.”
Read more at the Los Angeles Times.