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Activist Claims She Was Targeted, Harassed By City Council Candidate

Social media post by Mike Dickinson
An example of social media posts by Mike Dickinson, who is accused of harassment. (Photo: imgur user ctj101)

A Richmond activist is suing 1st District City Council candidate Mike Dickinson for defamation and harassment. The lawsuit also names the users behind anonymous Twitter accounts that posted right-wing and pro-police content.

Breanne Armbrust is a long-time social justice advocate and Executive Director of the Neighborhood Resource Center of Greater Fulton. She operates the Twitter account @BreRVA, which is also identified as #SocialJusticeNerd. Armbrust claims Dickinson and others launched a coordinated attack on her using social media. The posts accuse Armbrust of laundering money from her employer, directing “Antifa” and inciting violence in the city.

“I know who I am and what I stand for, but the actions of these individuals have caused real harm,” Armbrust said. “I have never met the people that are doing this, and I don’t know why they’ve singled me out. I deny the baseless accusations against me.”

The lawsuit says each of the defendants published false statements about Armbrust by tweeting or retweeting on Twitter, posting comments or videos on Facebook, or emailing her employer.

“We felt it was really important for her to fight back,” said Armbrust’s attorney Terry Frank. “Because, while these accusations are false, once they’re out on the internet, they’re out there forever. We’d like them removed and public retractions and the defendants to be held responsible for their behavior."

Armbrust is also seeking $350,000 in damages.

Twitter recently suspended Dickinson’s account and last week, Richmond Circuit Court Judge David Eugene Cheek Sr. granted Armbrust’s request for a restraining order.

Dickinson’s attorney, Phil Bradfield, said the allegations in the lawsuit are completely false.

“Mr. Dickinson has not violated the law in any way. He has not done anything wrong,” Bradfield said. He argues many of the posts Armhurst’s complaint attributes to Dickinson were retweeted from other accounts.

“That’s not his content. He didn’t write tweets written by someone else. He retweeted them. For which, according to both federal law and Virginia law, he, as a matter of law, cannot be liable,” Bradfield said.

Armbrust’s attorney, Terry Frank, says her team is waiting for Twitter to respond to a subpoena demanding the identities of the people behind the anonymous accounts @backtheblue2021 and @FindMeOnParlor, who Armbrust also accused of harassment.

Whittney Evans is VPM News’ features editor.
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