April 27, 2018 / 4:32 PM / 3 months ago

University of Virginia bars white nationalist from campus

(Reuters) - The organizer of a white nationalist rally that turned deadly last summer has been barred from the University of Virginia campus because of threats against students and his role in the melee, the school said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Unite The Right rally organizer Jason Kessler attempts to speak at a press conference in front of Charlottesville City Hall in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S., August 13, 2017. REUTERS/Justin Ide/File Photo

Jason Kessler, who organized the Aug. 12 Charlottesville rally that led to the death of a counterprotester, was issued a no-trespass warning late on Thursday because of multiple reports from students that he had threatened them, the university said in a statement.

The statement said Kessler, a Charlottesville resident who is not a student at the university, also “targeted them through cyber-bullying and cyber-harassment, and targeted them based on protected characteristics,” which under federal law include race, national origin and gender.

He also was banned because he had misled university police last year about a torchlight rally of white nationalists on school grounds the night before the “Unite the Right” gathering, the statement said.

FILE PHOTO: Unite The Right rally organizer Jason Kessler attempts to speak at a press conference in front of Charlottesville City Hall in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S., August 13, 2017. REUTERS/Justin Ide/File Photo

In a video posted to Twitter, Kessler denied the allegations and said he had been harassed by students and employees during a visit to the University of Virginia law library.

“All this is being turned over to my attorneys. You better believe that I’m going to fight this stuff,” he said.

A counterprotester to the white nationalist rally was killed when she was run over by a car driven into a crowd. Two state police officers monitoring the event from the air also died when their helicopter crashed.

The 2017 rally followed protests over the city’s proposed removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

Republican President Donald Trump inflamed tensions afterward when he said counterprotesters were also to blame for the violence.

Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Bill Trott

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