6 Years Later, Charlottesville Charges Tiki Torch Marchers

Previous official had declined to pursue charges, but new one did
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2023 1:00 AM CDT
Updated Apr 19, 2023 6:46 AM CDT
Tiki Torch Marchers Hit With Charges From 2017 Charlottesville White Supremacist Rally
White nationalist groups march with torches through the University of Virginia campus on Aug. 11, 2017, in Charlottesville, Va.   (Mykal McEldowney/The Indianapolis Star via AP, File)

Almost six years after the white nationalist demonstration at the University of Virginia, which was followed the next day by the deadly "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, multiple attendees of the UVa demonstration have been charged. Robert Tracci, the former commonwealth attorney for Albemarle County, had declined to pursue charges while in office. James Hingeley, who unseated him and took office in 2020, convened a grand jury that has now indicted three individuals for allegedly burning "an object on the property of another or a highway or other public place with intent to intimidate" during the demonstration, CNN reports. They were allegedly among the people who marched with tiki torches at the event while chanting slogans including "Jews will not replace us," the Washington Post reports.

"There are so many people in our community … who were there on August 11 who were terrorized by torch-wielding terrorists,” Hingeley said while campaigning against Tracci in 2019. “There’s a law, a burning objects law, that says they can be prosecuted but our prosecutor’s not doing that.” Dallas Medina of Ravenna, Ohio; Wil Zachary Smith of Nacona, Texas; and Tyler Bradley Dykes of Bluffton, South Carolina, face felony charges related to the alleged burning at the rally and face up to five years behind bars. Smith also faces a charge related to allegedly releasing tear gas or another irritant. All three were extradited from their home states; two are currently jailed while the third has been released on bail. (More Charlottesville, Va. stories.)

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