Jeremy Putman, age 31, was arrested in Winchester, Virginia on Friday afternoon after various calls were placed to local dispatch of a man described as “the Joker” and acting suspiciously and carrying a sword. Reports have been made previously of similar behavior. However, local officials believe that there is only one suspect at this time.
Putman was charged with “wearing a mask in public” which is considered a class 6 felony under Virginia Code 18.2-422
“It shall be unlawful for any person over 16 years of age, with the intent to conceal his identity, wear any mask, hood, or other device, whereby a substantial portion of the face is hidden or covered, so as to conceal the identity of the wearer, to be or appear in any public place, or upon any private property in this Commonwealth, without first having obtained from the owner or tenant thereof consent to do so in writing…” VACode 18.2-422 (the code goes on to state that items such as medical apparatus, traditional holiday or theatrical costumes, or in cases of emergency when deemed necessary for public safety, etc)
While it may seem silly, the law may have been enacted as many in other states had to end KKK activities in the past. (I have not researched this specific code, but merely speculating on that one.) Is it a stretch to consider face paint a mask? Well, I suppose it is technically covering his face but I do think that it is a bit of a grey area. (or white, black and red lol…oh come on)
He is now being held on $2,000 bond at the Northwest Regional Adult Detention Center. There is no mention on charges for the sword, however.
I’m curious to see if this will end up being a case of an actual menacing figure, a mental health issue, or just a cosplayer.
A Look at Winchester
A quick look at the town of Winchester shows that it is a town of just under 30,000 as of the 2015 census. They are located in Northwestern Virginia, and the county seat of Frederick county. They are home to a long history of military tradition throughout the French and Indian, Revolutionary, and Civil Wars. Winchester was pivotal for the union army, in fact. In addition, it is home to a variety of locations on the National Register of Historic Places including the Patsy Cline house, the Fort Loudoun Site, the Frederick County Courthouse, the Daniel Morgan house, and many others.
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