Marine court-martialed for participation in violent Charlottesville rally
A US Marine has been convicted in a court-martial and will be discharged for participating in a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year.
Lance Cpl. Vasillios G. Pistolis was found guilty in a summary court-martial Monday of failure to obey an order or regulation and making a false statement, said 1st Lt. Samir J. Glenn-Roundtree of the 2nd Marine Logistics Group.
Pistolis was sentenced to 28 days of confinement, was bumped down in rank to E-1, and lost two-thirds pay for a month, Glenn-Roundtree said. Pistolis will have seven days to request clemency. He will be processed for administrative separation, or discharge, Maj. Brian Block said.
Last August 11, white nationalists carried torches and chanted anti-Semitic slogans before clashing with counter-protesters at the University of Virginia.
Targeted for being transgender
Emily Gorcenski said she was targeted by some of the white nationalists because she is transgender. They shouted anti-trans slurs at her before someone physically assaulted her.
“I remember being hit and having bruises,” Gorcenski, 36, said Wednesday, but she was unsure if Pistolis struck her, she said. “He proceeded to engage in quite a bit of violence.”
Later, he posted disparaging comments about her online, she said.
She said she was concerned that a Marine, with access to US military weapons and training, could be a white supremacist.
“I’m relieved that some justice has finally been seen,” she said, despite what she called the “rather lenient results.” She said she is grateful for the military action, “and I hope that the civilian authorities do not overlook his violent actions on August 11 and 12.”
On August 12, the violence continued. Heather Heyer was killed and more than 19 others were injured when a car plowed into a crowd protesting the “Unite the Right” white nationalist rally. The driver, James Alex Fields Jr., has been indicted on several charges, including first-degree murder.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of the story incorrectly said that, according to Emily Gorcenski, Lance Cp. Vasillios G. Pistolis verbally harassed her and bragged about striking her at the rally. He posted disparaging comments about her afterward online, she said.