Local / National

The Latest: Man pleads guilty to blocking KKK from park

FILE – In this Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017 file photo, people look at the covered statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Va. The move to cover the statues was intended to symbolize the city’s mourning for Heather Heyer, killed while protesting a white nationalist rally earlier in the month. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — The Latest on the aftermath of a violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia (all times local):
10 a.m. A man has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for trying to keep members of the Ku Klux Klan from entering a Virginia park.

News outlets report that 52-year-old Thomas Freeman pleaded guilty Thursday to obstructing the free passage of others and was sentenced to 10 hours of community service.

Freeman and other counter-protesters were arrested after they linked arms to try to block members of the KKK from holding a demonstration at a Charlottesville park on July 8.

Freeman rejected an offer to avoid a criminal conviction by performing community service, saying he felt obligated to plead guilty.

More than a dozen other counter-protesters who were arrested also appeared in court on Thursday. Their hearings were continued until October.

The small KKK rally came about a month before violence erupted at a large white nationalist rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12.

6 a.m.

A judge in Virginia is set to hear arguments in a lawsuit over Charlottesville’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

The controversy over the statue sparked the Aug. 12 “Unite the Right” rally that descended into violent chaos. Charlottesville has since shrouded the monument with a black tarp as a symbol of mourning for the woman who was killed.

Attorneys for both sides will be in court Friday for a hearing on whether the lawsuit should proceed. The city has asked that it be dismissed.

A group of plaintiffs that includes area residents and the Virginia division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans sued after Charlottesville’s City Council voted earlier this year to remove the statue. They say that decision violates a state law on memorials for war veterans.