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Controversial sign holder Pickett denied assault appeal
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Controversial sign holder Pickett denied assault appeal

Mason Pickett 2017

Mason Pickett holds one of his anti-Wes Bellamy signs outside the Albemarle County Office Building in September 2017.

Mason Pickett — often seen around Charlottesville sporting signs in graphic opposition to former City Councilor Wes Bellamy, Democrats and social justice activists — was denied an appeal Friday for a misdemeanor assault and battery conviction.

According to court records, the appeal stemmed from a charge Pickett received after an incident on Halloween last year. He was arrested on Nov. 17 and charged with misdemeanor assault and battery.

Pickett was found guilty of the misdemeanor on Jan. 29 and appealed the conviction in March to the Charlottesville Circuit Court, where the appeal was dismissed Friday.

R. Cooper Vaughan, assistant commonwealth’s attorney for the city, filed a motion on behalf of the commonwealth opposing the appeal, citing the lateness of the appeal filing, which must be done within 10 days of conviction.

“The defendant, Pickett, was convicted on January 29th, 2021. He filed his notice of appeal on March 23, 2021, fifty-three days from the date of his conviction,” Vaughan wrote. “As such, the appeal in this case is untimely and this court has no jurisdiction to hear an appeal.”

Though Friday’s dismissal was brief, a police report included with Pickett’s circuit court file includes a statement from the complainant, Raegan Bostic, that sheds light on the incident.

According to Bostic’s narrative, last Halloween she parked on University Avenue in front of Bodo’s Bagels and accidentally bumped Pickett’s sign with her elbow.

“He immediately ran after me, grabbed my left arm, and yelled, ‘You touched my sign!’” Bostic wrote. “I struggled to get away from him while yelling, ‘Get off me!’”

Per the report, Bostic then said Pickett said something along the lines of, “I’m gonna hit you in the head with my sign” before proceeding to do exactly that, repeatedly. Two witnesses pulled Pickett off of her, one of whom Bostic wrote she later found out was Tim Longo, chief of the University of Virginia Police Department.

Embarrassed, fearful and shaken, Bostic walked away from the scene, according to the report, before being approached by a witness who was a doctor. After making sure that Bostic was not injured, the doctor and her husband waited with her until city police arrived, Bostic wrote.

According to Bostic’s narrative, Longo approached her and agreed to give a statement to the city police because he did not have jurisdiction at the location of the incident. Bostic later agreed to press charges against Pickett.

It is unclear what punishment resulted from Pickett’s general district court conviction as online court records do not indicate he received any jail time or a fine.

According to court records, this is Pickett’s second conviction for misdemeanor assault and battery following a similar incident in 2019.

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