Police identify Stone Mountain protesters arrested Saturday
STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. - Nine people were arrested and attractions are shut down Saturday after violent protests at Stone Mountain Park. Hundreds of counter-protesters clashed with a pro-white group. Authorities said demonstrators fought, set materials on fire and hurled rocks at police during the ruckus.
Police released the list of those arrested Saturday. They are:
- Donald Ragin, 25, Charged with Wearing Mask, Hood
- John A. Cubas, 26, Charged with Wearing Mask, Hood
- Joshua D. Hughes, 25, Charged with Wearing Mask, Hood
- John D. Nicholson, 30, Charged with Wearing Mask, Hood
- Joshua Mascharka, 23, Charged with Wearing Mask, Hood
- Benjamin S. Passmore, 32, Charged with Wearing Mask, Hood
- Anthony J. Argento, 23, Charged with Wearing Mask, Hood
- David McCormick, 37, Charged with Wearing Mask, Hood
- Joshua T. Taft, 21, Charged with Aggravated Assault
Stone Mountain authorities said Taft was arrested for firing off a smoke bomb during the protest.
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Due to safety concerns, Stone Mountain Park officials closed attractions for the rest of Saturday. A notice on the park's website said all activities including the evening laser show were canceled, but will resume Sunday.
John Bankhead, spokesperson for Stone Mountain Park, told Fox 5 the pro-white Rock Stone Mountain group had a permit to rally. He said the counter-protesters did not. Even though park visitors have asked officials to shut down racially-charged groups, the park has to adhere to First Amendment Rights and provide additional security, Bankhead insisted. Still, he admitted instances like Saturday's cause too many problems.
"We wish these people would go away. This is a family-oriented park. We are sick and tired of this quite frankly," Bankhead said.
The main demostration, the “Rock Stone Mountain” is advertised as an “openly Pro White March up Stone Mountain that climaxes in a rally at the top.” A concert will be held later in the day at a separate location in connection to the event. The organizer, out of Hapeville, previously told FOX 5 News they want to call attention to the “cultural Marxists” who are attempting to erase Confederate Heritage and the white race as a whole.
Peachtree Ridge High School was forced to move their prom from the location as a result of the planned protests.