Friends of Chattanooga man arrested in Virginia claim he was fighting white supremacy

Troy Dunigan

A friend of the Chattanooga man who was arrested in Charlottesville, Va., amid white supremacist rallies and counterprotests spoke on his behalf Sunday to let the public know why he was there.

Beth Foster, co-director for Mercy Junction Justice and Peace Center in Chattanooga, said Troy Dunigan wanted "to let everyone know he was in Charlottesville as part of an antifa action. He is an anarchist. He was here to confront white supremacy and antifa's practice is to use force if necessary in doing that."

Foster said Dunigan is not officially part of the Mercy Junction Justice and Peace Center but "he is definitely a friend and ally of us."

Virginia State Police released his name late Saturday night and said he was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, but did not provide details.

Many people took to social media Saturday night and throughout Sunday to clarify that Dunigan was not involved with the white supremacist rally.

"Let the record show that the 'Chattanooga man' arrested in Charlottesville was part of the COUNTER PROTEST, and is NOT a white supremacist," posted Missy Foley, a woman who identified herself as Dunigan's cousin.

"I'm not entirely sure what he did," Foster wrote in a text message. " ... Usually these kinds of things involve the person being attacked by a white supremacist and then defending themselves."

What started as a white supremacy gathering to protest the town removing a Confederate statue quickly turned violent as the supremacists and counter-protestors clashed in the Virginia town.

A car then plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting the rally.

One person was killed and dozens were injured during the violent day.

Two Virginia state troopers were killed when the helicopter they were using to provide aid to the situation crashed in the woods near the gathering, The Associated Press reported.