Three students from Virginia Commonwealth University and one former student face up five years in prison after being charged with covering their faces as they protested a pro-Confederate rally in Virginia.
The four individuals were arrested at Saturday’s march for covering their faces with masks, violating a 1952 law that bars anyone over 16 from covering a significant portion of their face with the intent of hiding their identity, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. The law was originally aimed at unmasking members of the Ku Klux Klan.
Police warned counter-protesters ahead of the march that the mask law would be strictly enforced.
Three of the four defendants were arraigned in court Tuesday. The former VCU student, Carline Hill, said she wore a bandanna to protect herself from harassment.
“I was wearing the mask to protect myself from people who I was told were filming and photographing us with the intent of doxxing us,” she said.
Ian Gerson, 32 and Corissa Duffey, 25, both current students at VCU, were also arraigned Tuesday for reportedly wearing Halloween masks to the march as it reached Stuart Circle.
The fourth VCU student charged, Thomas Rockett, will be arraigned Wednesday.
Ironically, the judge set a hearing on the cases for Oct. 31, Halloween.