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Charges dropped against 3 accused of wearing masks in public

Charges dropped against 3 accused of wearing masks in public

Charges were dropped Thursday against three people accused of wearing masks in public during the Ku Klux Klan rally on July 8.

In Charlottesville General District Court, prosecutors moved to nolle prosse the charges against Sarah Barner, Diego Trujillo and Naomi Bendersky because the intent of the statute focuses on a person using a mask to conceal his or her identity. In this case, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Nina Antony said tear gas had just been deployed when the individuals were arrested.

She said that when officers saw Barner, Trujillo and Bendersky wearing material over their faces and walking toward the Charlottesville Circuit Courthouse on July 8 amid the chaos, they had probable cause to arrest them. But since looking at police body-worn camera footage, Antony said prosecutors decided to drop the charges based on the specific circumstances of that moment.

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