Jason Kessler press conference

Jason Kessler speaks at a press conference outside City Hall on Sunday, August 13, 2017.

Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress
TownNews.com Content Exchange

Updated, 11:15 a.m. Sept. 13:

Charlottesville police have charged a city woman with assaulting the organizer of the Aug. 12 Unite the Right rally in Emancipation Park during the man’s next-day press conference that devolved into chaos.

Phoebe LaFroy Stevens, 35, is charged with assault and battery. She turned herself in to the police and was released with a summons, police said.

Stevens joins Edgar Brandon Collins, 44 and Jeffrey Matthew Winder, 49, both of Charlottesville, who were each given a summons to appear in court on charges of assaulting Kessler at the press conference held outside of Charlottesville City Hall.

Kessler obtained warrants on Collins and Winder while police filed the charge against Stevens.

Kessler’s Aug. 13 press conference lasted no more than six minutes before the angry crowd pressed toward him. Kessler was grabbed, pushed and punched before being whisked away by police from the front of City Hall, onto Market Street and finally into the city police station next door.

Police at the scene also charged Robert K. Litzenberger, 47, of Charlottesville, with misdemeanor assault and battery after police said he spat on Kessler.

Kessler’s press conference occurred a day after the rally Aug. 12 in which Heather Heyer, 32, was killed and more than 30 people injured when a car was driven into a crowd of counter protesters.

James A. Fields Jr., 20, of Ohio, is charged with second-degree murder, five counts of aggravated malicious wounding and three counts of malicious wounding in connection with the car assault.

Two state troopers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, also died Saturday in a helicopter crash near the Birdwood Golf Course in Albemarle County. The two troopers were involved in police operations for the rally.


Two men have been charged with misdemeanor assault of the man who organized the Aug. 12 Unite the Right rally in Emancipation Park that descended into chaos and deadly violence.

Brandon Collins, 44, and Jeffrey Matthew Winder, 49, each were given a summons to appear in court on charges of assaulting Jason Kessler at an Aug. 13 press conference outside of Charlottesville City Hall.

Collins and Winder, both area residents, are to appear in Charlottesville General District Court on Sept. 22.

Collins is an organizer with the Public Housing Association of Residents in Charlottesville.

The two men went to the police department this weekend after learning that Kessler had obtained warrants from a magistrate.

Kessler’s press conference occurred a day after the rally in which Heather Heyer, 32, was killed and more than 30 people injured when a car was driven into a crowd of counter-protesters.

James A. Fields Jr., 20, of Ohio, is charged with second-degree murder, five counts of aggravated malicious wounding and three counts of malicious wounding in connection with the car attack.

Two state troopers who were involved in police operations for the rally also died Aug. 12 in a helicopter crash in Albemarle County.

Kessler’s Aug. 13 press conference lasted no more than six minutes as an angry crowd pushed toward him and Kessler was grabbed, shoved and punched. He eventually was whisked away by police from the front of City Hall, onto Market Street and finally into the police station next door.

Police at the scene also charged Robert K. Litzenberger, 47, of Charlottesville, with misdemeanor assault and battery after police said he spat on Kessler. He, too, is scheduled for a court hearing Sept. 22.

Send news tips to news@dailyprogress.com, call (434) 978-7264, tweet us @DailyProgress or send us a Facebook message here.

This article originally ran on dailyprogress.com.

Locations