More than 100 people gathered in front of Lancaster County Courthouse Wednesday. The purpose of the gathering depended on who you talked to.
There was general agreement that the group was their to support the Rev. Booker Carter of Beulah Baptist Church in Lively who had been accosted by a white man over the weekend. Some, however, thought the group was there to pressure the police and prosecutor to oppose bail for Jason Michael Verlander who is charged with two felonies, throwing a missile at a vehicle and destroying property worth more than $1,000, and four misdemeanor charges including disorderly conduct and hate crimes related to his alleged dealings with Carter on June 14.
Frank Kober, who was at the gathering said that he understood that Verlander’s mother worked for the sheriff’s department and he and others were concerned Verlander would get special treatment. Laurie Morrissette who was also there said the meeting was “not a protest. We were there to show solidarity with the victim and support for the police.”
The case arose when Verlander allegedly engaged in a car chase in Kilmarnock after Carter did something to annoy him. The chase ended at Carter’s home where something was hurled at him and his wife who were in his car. Racial epithets were allegedly hollered.
During the gathering, Carter addressed the group. “I am the victim,” he said. Carter said the police were acting appropriately and he had confidence in them.
Coronavirus precautions limited the number of people who could watch the court proceedings which involved Verlander’s being arraigned and asking for bail.
Commonwealths Attorney Tony Spencer opposed bail and the court, which noted Verlander’s record which included failures to appear in earlier matters, denied bail. Verlander was remanded to the Saluda jail pending trial on the misdemeanor charges and preliminary hearings on the felonies in August.