Lynchburg protester in a wheelchair following arrest, another barred from peaceful assembly

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This story has been updated to reflect a more accurate amount raised for the bail fund, as provided by Sonja Harding in a follow-up conversation.

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Bryant Kemper needed a wheelchair at his bond hearing Friday morning. He had been arrested on Monday in connection with property damage that occurred at a protest the day before.

Chelsea Webster, an attorney with the Public Defender’s office, says the way officers pulled him out of his car and pinned him re-injured his back that had previously undergone surgery.

Ultimately, he was denied bond, despite a local bail fund waiting to help him and another protester who also had a bond hearing Friday, June 5.

“The bail fund came out of a need in the community to be able to support the protesters that were arrested,” said Sonja Harding, who organized the fund. “We are concerned about many of the charges put on these protesters not being true.”

So far, Harding says they’ve raised about $7,000. Harding was waiting Friday morning to pay.

“One of them did not get a bond, and the other one got a bond, but the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office appealed it, so we are not able to pay it at this time.”

Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Andrew Childress appealed Tykeim Hurt’s bond.

“Basically for the reasons I said in court that we were opposing the bond,” he said in a phone interview with WFXR afterwards.

In court, Childress argued that Hurt was identified as the person breaking windows and damaging cars during the nighttime protest on Sunday, May 31, calling his behavior, “beyond the pale.”

Webster argued that the smoke and chaos of the scene makes it hard to identify anyone.

“There will be another hearing in front of a Circuit Court judge one day next week,” said Childress, “and they put a stay on the bond order for up to five days.”

A condition of his bond is that he is banned from attending any public assemblies.

Deputy Public Defender Brad Lindsay says he has never heard of such a bond condition and says it raises concerns related to First Amendment protections. He says his office will raise these concerns at Hurt’s appeal Tuesday, June 9.

He also said his office is appealing the decision to deny Kemper bond, saying he is not a flight risk or a danger to the public. Kemper’s appeal will be heard Monday, June 8.

Lindsay also said he is investigating the manner in which Kemper was arrested and how his injuries occurred.

WFXR reached out to the Lynchburg Police Department for a response, as well as body camera footage and any and all internal reports related to Kemper’s arrest.

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