Charlottesville rally organizer spat at, chased from press conference by protesters; 1 arrested

White nationalist blogger Jason Kessler, who organized Saturday’s “Unite the Right” in Charlottesville, Va., was suddenly chased out of his press conference Sunday afternoon by a crowd of protesters, leading to at least one arrest.

Footage on social media showed Kessler being escorted by law enforcement away from the area, with protesters shouting the name of Heather Heyer, the woman who was killed after a car plowed into a crowd of people at yesterday’s rally.

Jason Kessler AP

Jason Kessler addressed the media Sunday after the "Unite the Rally" he organized in Charlottesville took place one day earlier. (AP Photo)

Robert Litzenberger, 47, was arrested after a trooper saw him spitting on Kessler, state police said. Litzenberger was charged with misdemeanor assault and battery, and released on unsecured bond.

Kessler was chased away from the press conference by protesters. As he exited the area, there were audible chants of “shame” coming from the crowd.


Kessler planned the news conference after a group of white supremacists went to Charlottesville on Saturday to "take America back" by rallying against plans to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park.

Kessler reportedly blamed the violence that unfolded on local government and law enforcement officials, claiming they did not separate the protesters and counter-protesters.

"All of the carnage that happened was because the Charlottesville city government would not recognize our right to assemble," Kessler said during a live-stream on his Twitter account. He added that his "first amendment rights are being trampled on," after he claimed he received no help from state police Sunday as protesters went after him during his news conference.

Protesters and counter-protesters clashed throughout the day, and it turned deadly after a Dodge Challenger was rammed into a group of counter-protesters.

Jason Kessler Reuters

Police pictured helping Jason Kessler after he was chased off by protesters during his press conference Sunday. (REUTERS/Justin Ide)

James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Ohio, the alleged driver, has been arrested in connection with the crash, which left 32-year-old Heyer, a counter-protester, dead and 19 others injured.


According to Virginia State Police, three other people were arrested in connection with the rally. Police identified them as Troy Dunigan, 21, of Chattanooga, Tenn., charged with disorderly conduct; Jacob L. Smith, 21, of Louisa, Va., charged with assault and battery; and James M. O'Brien, 44, of Gainesville, Fla., charged with carrying a concealed handgun.

The Richmond FBI Field Office, the Civil Rights Division, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia have since opened a civil rights investigation into the deadly crash.

Fox News' Jenny Buchholz contributed to this report.