The Leesburg Police Department on Sunday charged Jessie Patton, 29 of Fairfax, with misdemeanor destruction of property in connection to a protest outside of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring’s house in September.
Patton, who promised to appear in court, was not taken to jail.
The charge stems from a protest on the evening of Sept. 11, during which 20 to 25 people wearing black masks convened on the sidewalk in front of Herring’s house on the 400 block of King Street. The Free Them All VA Coalition was protesting the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s transfer of migrant detainees to the Farmville Detention Center, where a COVID-19 outbreak ensued and resulted in one death.
Coalition members painted “LIBEREN A TODXS” and “FREE THEM ALL!” in large blue letters on the town-owned sidewalk.
Members of the Coalition claimed the paint could be easily removed. Loudoun County Fire-Rescue personnel said they were unable to wash it off. Staff members from the town’s Public Works Department subsequently removed the paint.
The Leesburg Police Department reacted to the incident by charging Patton with the misdemeanor and seeking information from Facebook to identify others involved in the group.
The Department requested and obtained a search warrant to gather that information from the Coalition’s Facebook page. The warrant has been served to Facebook, but as of last week, the Department had not yet received any information back.
The Public Citizen Litigation Group on Oct. 13 filed a motion in Loudoun County Circuit Court to block the search warrant. The group noted in its motion the sidewalk damage cost the town less than $1,000 to remedy.
The Leesburg Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Section continues to investigate the Sept. 11 incident, and has asked anyone who can provide additional information is asked to contact Detective J. Mocello at 703-771-4500 or email@example.com. Those who wish to remain anonymous are asked to call the Leesburg Crime Line at 703-443-TIPS (8477). Information can also be sent by texting 274637 (CRIMES) using TipSubmit. Messages should begin with LPDTIP.