Stone Mountain. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
UPDATE: Michael Weaver, a self-proclaimed first amendment advocate, reached out to Atlanta Loop this afternoon, stating he will be filing suit on behalf of Rock Stone Mountain II.
Weaver, who runs the “News 4 Whites” blog, says he is not affiliated with the event, however, he is close friends with the event’s organizers.
“Apparently, the government wrongly believes it can curtail the 1st Amendment in regards to Stone Mountain,” Weaver wrote in an email. “This is blatantly unconstitutional and our right to peacefully assemble shall be upheld by the courts. They can not curtail our speech due to a hecklers veto.”
Weaver said he will be seeking legal representation in the matter. “I will personally contact the ACLU and other First Amendment lawyers to file an injunction if these tyrants wish to trample on our beloved Constitutional rights,” he wrote.
Atlanta Loop will continue to follow the story and provide updates as they arise.
According to the rejection letter circulating online, the permit is being denied due to a previously scheduled event and lack of public safety resources. It goes on, “based on the previous violent event held by your organization on April 23, 2016 as well as your acknowledgement of potential violence in the permit application comments, the Stone Mountain Park Department of Public Safety does not have the available resources to protect not only the members of your organization but the Park employees and general public.”
It goes on to note “[during the 2016 event] Stone Mountain Park had to close operations during your event to protect the public from violent confrontations.”
The first event, openly described as a white power rally by event organizer John Estes, quickly descended into chaos and violence as white supremacists, Neo-nazis, the police and counter-protesters clashed in the shadow of the mountain, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Atlanta Loop confirmed the authenticity of the rejection letter with John Bankhead, a spokesperson for the stone mountain memorial association. Bankhead stated the park does not want a repeat of the chaos the 2016 event created.
Although the permit has been denied, the Facebook event has not been changed to reflect this refusal, raising concern that the event planned for February 2, might take place even if it’s not officially sanctioned. According to the event page, 93 people plan to attend, while 523 are interested.