An officer in the neo-Confederate group League of the South has been convicted of illegally carrying a gun during a demonstration over the removal of a Confederate monument in North Carolina.
After being found guilty Friday, Jessica Lynne Reavis, a 40-year-old from Danville, Virginia, complained about losing her Glock .40 caliber handgun, dozens of rounds of ammunition and her pepper-spray gun.
Reavis, who works as a long-haul truck driver, said the misdemeanor conviction in district court in Chatham County, North Carolina, could mean the security clearance she needs for work will be revoked.
“If I am found guilty and lose my security clearance … everything I worked for for my entire life will be lost,” Reavis told the court.
Reavis, who has been intimately involved in protests surrounding the removal of Confederate monuments, did not disclose the level of security clearance she has or why she obtained it. Hatewatch has so far been unable to determine whether or not she does in fact have any clearance.
White nationalist connections
She also marched with neo-Confederate groups in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in October 2017.
An antiracist activist also identified Reavis as a national officer of the neo-Confederate group on Twitter on Nov. 1.
On white nationalist websites and social media, Reavis called for protesters to turn out on Oct. 17, 2019.
The next day on an episode of “The Roper Report,” a podcast hosted by longtime white nationalist movement leader Billy Roper, Reavis said other members of League of the South were cowed out of attending planned demonstrations in Pittsboro, North Carolina, under pressure by less extreme pro-monument groups. She attributed that pressure to SPLC’s reporting.
“I think that ultimately part of the reason why the people in Pittsboro c----- was because of the SPLC website,” Reavis said. “The page. I mean, actually when you read it, it’s not that bad, it goes in and says something about what this monument truly stands for. It seems like someone on the inside reported it to them. Someone who is probably SCV [Sons of Confederate Veterans] – maybe not SCV but more of the heritage type – who want to smile in your face and stab you in the back.”
In the same interview, Reavis talked about her arrest and confirmed she carried a pistol and a pepper gun during the event.
Since being arrested, Reavis has focused on promoting public activism under the guise of a new extremist group, United Confederates of the Carolinas and Virginia (UCCV), which she founded with Woody Elvin Weaver Jr. of Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, in 2019.
Reavis has stayed active on social media, pushing the issues surrounding the removal of Confederate statues.
“We must stand together and fight this enemy,” Reavis posted on VK, the Russian version of Facebook, on Nov. 26, 2019. “We cannot let them continue to cut our very roots within our soil.”
Arrested with a gun
Police arrested Reavis at a demonstration in Pittsboro, North Carolina, on Oct. 5, 2019, on misdemeanor charges of carrying a concealed gun and carrying a concealed weapon, referring to her pepper-spray gun.
Since then, Reavis has demonstrated multiple times in Pittsboro, a town of about 4,200 about 40 miles west of Raleigh, North Carolina.
The Pittsboro statue, which stood for 112 years before being taken down in November, has become a flashpoint over the last two years for the debate about how public entities handle monuments to the Old South and the Civil War.
Chatham County Commissioners voted on Aug. 20, 2019, to remove the statute. The vote came one day shy of the first anniversary of protesters toppling the “Silent Sam” statue at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
Leading up to the vote and since, there have been rallies, protests and demonstrations in Pittsboro nearly every weekend in 2019, a costly series of events for Chatham County.
“From March 18, 2019 to November 18, 2019, Chatham County incurred more than $140,000 related to security measures in response to protest activity related to the Confederate monument in Pittsboro,” Chatham County Public Information Officer Kara Dudley told Hatewatch in an email.
Members of neo-Confederate hate groups, including Reavis, other members of League of the South, and members of Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County North Carolina (ACTBAC NC) were frequent attendees at the rallies.
Right-wing provocateurs the Hiwaymen and neo-Confederate heritage activists from Virginia Flaggers have also attended.
At the Oct. 5, 2019, demonstration, a plainclothes police officer spotted what looked like a gun tucked under Reavis’ shirt, said Chatham County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Jonathan Miller.
Miller and another deputy went to the protest and questioned Reavis. A police body-cam video captured the questioning and arrest and was played during the two hour-plus trial Friday.
On the video, Reavis can be seen wearing a League of the South long-sleeve shirt and carrying a large Confederate battle flag.
After acknowledging the gun and pepper spray, Miller told Reavis she was being arrested for possession of a firearm at a demonstration, a misdemeanor in North Carolina.
“It’s not a protest, just carrying flags,” Reavis told Miller.
“It’s a protest,” Miller responded. “We’ve been doing this for two years.”
Reavis continued to complain that she wasn’t taking part in a protest, just waving Confederate flags as a group opposed to them chanted across the street. Reavis also noted she has a permit issued in Virginia to carry a concealed weapon.
“I haven’t done anything wrong. This isn’t a protest,” Reavis said again. “Why are y’all taking away my rights?”
Reavis then said she didn’t know carrying the weapon at a demonstration was illegal in North Carolina.
“If you had told me I couldn’t have a gun, I wouldn’t have had it,” Reavis said.
“You didn’t ask,” Miller replied.
After returning from a brief break at the trial, Reavis looked back at a small group of people, one of whom was wearing a shirt advertising the neo-Confederate heritage group the Virginia Flaggers. Facing them, she protested the verdict.
“They gotta make a martyr of somebody, right?” Reavis said.
Photo of Jessica Reavis in Pittsboro, North Carolina, on Sept. 28, 2019, by Daniel Hosterman.