Vernon man accused of battery

Charge against 37-year-old stems from Virginia white supremacist rally

NORTH VERNON

A Vernon man has been arrested and will be extradited to Charlottesville, Virginia, to face an assault-and-battery charge stemming from clashes between white supremacists and counter-demonstrators in August.

Dennis L. Mothersbaugh, 37, of 2005 N. County Road 175E, was arrested at his home early Thursday afternoon by Jennings County Sheriff’s deputies and North Vernon police, Jennings County Sheriff Gary Driver¬†said.

The Virginia warrant for Mothersbaugh was issued after cellphone video from the Aug. 12 Charlottesville clashes surfaced on social media showed him marching with white supremacists and punching two people who were protesting. Mothersbaugh is accused of being with a group protesting over the scheduled removal of a Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee statue from a Charlottesville park.

The video shows a man identified as Mothersbaugh first punching an unidentified man, and then punching a woman directly in the face with his fist as he is accosted verbally by the counter-demonstrators. Allegations made about the incident include that Mothersbaugh was wearing weighted gloves when he hit the woman in the face.

The warrant for Mothersbaugh’s arrest had been pending since Sept. 18, but deputies could not and did not arrest him then because Charlottesville had not requested that Mothersbaugh be extradited back to Virginia, the Jennings County Sheriff’s Department said.

If deputies had arrested Mothersbaugh when the warrant was first issued, nothing would have happened because Charlottesville would not come and get him, said Lt. Mike Mowery, Jennings County Sheriff’s Department spokesman.

The warrant was reissued Thursday with Charlottesville police signing orders that they would extradite Mothersbaugh to face the assault-and-battery charge, Driver said, which led to the arrest.

Driver said he believed the flak on social media about Mothersbaugh being identified on the video, and not being arrested, led Charlottesville to change its mind on the extradition.

One person, Heather Heyer, died in Charlottesville after being hit by a car that ran through a group of protesters during the violence, and 35 people were injured at the confrontation.

Charlottesville officers will now travel to Indiana to take Mothersbaugh back to Virginia, Driver said. Until they arrive, Mothersbaugh is being held without bond in the Jennings County Jail, he said.

Mothersbaugh has already signed court papers agreeing to the extradition, Driver said. Charlottesville has up to 10 days or so to make the trip to pick him up, Driver said.

There are no active warrants in Indiana out for Mothersbaugh, Driver said.

Mothersbaugh was arrested May 27¬†in Bartholomew County by the Indiana State Police on charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated — endangerment, operating a vehicle with a blood-alcohol content of .08 percent or more and operating a vehicle while intoxicated. He was released from the Bartholomew County Jail after posting $5,000 bond.

A pretrial hearing in that case is set for 3 p.m. Oct. 11 in Bartholomew Superior Court 2, followed by a bench trial tentatively scheduled for 10 a.m. Nov. 8, court records state.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.