The black man who used an improvised flamethrower against white nationalists two months ago at the violent Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia has been arrested. This is the second black man to be arrested in connection to that rally in as many days.
Corey Long, 23, was arrested on charges of assault and battery as well as disorderly conduct. This is not going to help calm the criticism from anti-racism advocates who claim that the police didn’t do enough to stop the violence at the August rally.
According to authorities, the disorderly conduct charge is in relation to his homemade flamethrower and the assault charge happened during a second skirmish.
On August 12, hundreds of white nationalists gathered in Charlottesville for a Unite the Right rally. It was set up to protest the city’s plan to get rid of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
A 32-year-old woman named Heather Heyer was killed when a white supremacist drove his car into groups of protesters. President Trump then blamed at least some of the violence on the left.
“What about the ‘alt-left’ that came charging at, as you say, the ‘alt-right?’” Trump said at a Trump Tower presser. “Do they have any semblance of guilt? … You had a group on one side that was bad. And you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now.”
Long, who has been released on bond has not commented since his arrest. Instead, he has referred any questions to his lawyer Malik Zulu Shabazz.
Shabazz has been described as a “racist black nationalist” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Long shared a post that Shabazz wrote on Facebook.
“Getting arrested is no dishonor if you are standing up against hatred and injustice,” it started. “Getting shot while on the battlefield is sometimes a necessary reality if you are a true soldier operating against enemy fire in enemy territory.”
In an earlier interview with Long, he said he acted in self defense, stating that a white supremacist had shot at the ground in his general direction.
“At first it was peaceful protest,” Long told the media two days after the rally. “Until someone pointed a gun at my head. Then the same person pointed it at my foot and shot the ground.”
That man was named Richard Wilson Preston, 52 and he was charged with discharging a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school. The punishment can carry with it up to 10 years in jail.
Long has been celebrated by anti-racism activists and advocates ever since an Associated Press photographer snapped a photo of him with his flamethrower.
“This graceful man has appropriated not only the flames of white-supremacist bigotry but also the debauched, rhetorical fire of Trump, who gloated, earlier this week, that he would respond to a foreign threat with ‘fire and fury,’” wrote Doreen St. Félix from the New Yorker. “The resistance has its fire, too.”