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Protest in Onslow County for jailed Marine officer

The protesters were calling attention to the military lockup of Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller.
The protesters were calling attention to the military lockup of Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller.(Maddie Kerth)
Published: Oct. 3, 2021 at 7:54 PM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - A crowd at the Freedom Fountain in Jacksonville on Sunday called for the support of a marine officer who was relieved of duty after he was seen in a viral video questioning military leaders for the attacks at Kabul airport that killed 13 U.S. service members.

One of Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller’s Facebook post said “Colonel Emmel, please have the MPs waiting for me at 0800 on Monday. I’m ready for jail.”

Cynthia Lacorte, who organized the protest, said she was happy with the turnout of the rally as some people held signs and prayed.

“We have a great military community here full of marines and sailors and their families and we love each other and support each other,” Lacorte said. “We want to let the base know that we’re not happy with Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller being held in jail on no charges whenever we have 13 dead.”

Scheller is currently being held in pretrial confinement at the Regional Brig for Marine Corps Installations East at Camp Lejeune. He has not yet been charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Lacorte said she wants to be a voice for those afraid to share.

“There’s a lot of people in the community upset about this,” she said. “A lot of DOD employees and a lot of active duty cannot come out and speak out. I’ve had a lot of people thank me for being a voice when they cannot.”

Also in attendance was Rep. Phil Shepard (R-Onslow) who said he felt it was his responsibility to support his constituents’ right to protest.

“I’m glad to be here and be with them,” Shepard said. “I’m glad that we, in America, can still protest, and peacefully, as you see this group is doing, without causing any property damage.”

Protesters said they will continue to show up at the Jacksonville Freedom Fountain every weekend until Scheller is released.

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