Protective Order Extended Against Richmond Area’s Most Obnoxious Man


Henrico County Manager had the protective order extended against Ronald Hedlund and William Barthel.

Ronald Hedlund and William Barthel
A digitally altered photo of Thornton White, William Barthel, Shaun Porter, Ronald Hedlund, and Jack Pierce leaving the Henrico Court House.

After a preliminary protective order was granted against Ronald Hedlund and William Barthel, a judge extended that protective order for another 2 years. The protective order will remain in effect while they exercise their right to appeal. While under the protective order, they are prohibited from possessing and transporting firearms.

Hedlund was represented by John Pierce who is affiliated with the Virginia Citizens Defense League. Pierce is scheduled to appear on the VCDL’s Ask A Lawyer on Saturday. Pierce made it clear that he was only representing Hedlund and that Barthel was without any legal representation. Barthel is known for a wearing a costume of a white rabbit however on Thursday he dressed down and was wearing khakis and a black hoody. Hedlund is also known for his large signs that include phrases like “Fuck Biden.”

Ronald Hedlund and William Barthel
William Barthel leaving the Henrico Court House that is not digitally altered.

The attorney for John Vithoulkas began with their claim that Vithoulkas had a reason to believe he and his family were threatened by Hedlund and Barthel from a series of actions from those two. Vithoulkas serves as the county manager for Henrico County for the past 10 years.

Submitted into evidence was a series of clips that were filmed by Hedlund and Barthel. One of the clips has Ron Hedlund driving while Barthel filmed the house of Vithoulkas as Vithoulkas drives by. Another has Hedlund say the address of the Vithoulkas home. Another clip has Hedlund outside the home of Vithoulkas during a baby shower, filming a parked car and asking viewers to look up the vin number. Another clip also included Hedlund speaking about Vithoulkas while he was filming a noose.

Perhaps the most damning evidence against Hedlund came from a tweet he made on May 21st, eleven days after the preliminary protective order was served. That tweet had the date and location of John Vithoulkas’s daughter’s wedding.

The claims from Vithoulkas also included video clips from Brandon Howardwho also held a protest outside of the home of Vithoulkas. Hedlund would claim that Howard decided to protest on his own, after Hedlund called up the Virginia Citizen’s Defense League for legal advice. However, in the collection of video clips played for the judge included Hedlund encouraging people to join Howard’s protest.

When Hedlund presented his defense, he attempted to create the appearance of person who had been protesting for almost 30 years and landing him a position working for Governor George Allen. Left out where instances that resulted in arrest. Hedlund said that his protest against Vithoulkas began after he had a large sign that said Fuck Biden outside of a Richmond Strikers game. Hedlund believed that Vithoulkas acted as county manager to alter the parking and ordered the police to forbid signs on the parks. A belief that Hedlund could not confirm but had been attempting to FOIA the county.

After explaining his motivation, Hedlund called Shaun Porter as a witness. Porter also known as the “neighbor from hell” from his harassment that he directed in his old neighborhood. Porter, Hedlund, and Barthel hold protests together even though Porter lives in Hagerstown, Maryland. Before the trial, the trio held a protest at a Virginia rest stop with a “Fuck Biden” sign.

Porter traveled to Henrico for the trial. In my (non-lawyer) point view, it would have been better if he had stayed out of the court room. After testifying that he stands up to bullying with his over 100,000 subscribers, Porter began to raise his voice and lose his temper when he was cross-examined. When asked about a tire shop in Maryland that he was protesting, this set off a transphobic rant from Porter.

When Porter was asked if he was the antithesis of calm and that during a protest he would be more aggressively, Porter said that he is “always an asshole… even asleep.” Porter was also enraged at the idea that Hedlund was telling him how and where to protest. 

After appearing in court, Porter took to YouTube to complain that there was no evidence presented against Hedlund and Barthel. Porter did not mention that he spent a majority of the hearing in the hallway. His video titled was fixated on a question from Jack Pierce about his nickname White Claw that Porter did not understand the context.

Ronald Hedlund and William Barthel
Shaun Porter YouTube screenshot

Hedlund also called another fellow protester Thornton White. White said that he had been at protests with Hedlund for about two or three years. White was with Howard at the protest outside of Vithoulkas’s home and testified that protested because he was upset that Hedlund had a protective order against him.

At the end of the hearing, there was no testimony from law enforcement or footage from security cameras and law enforcement body cams. This was not a criminal charge but instead a civil matter. Vithoulkas and his lawyer played footage that Hedlund and Barthel and their friends filmed and released. They were able to his own words like, “John Vithoulkas is a little man and he’s afraid of me.” Hedlund was hung by his own rope, metaphorically.

The protective order against Hedlund and Barthel was not about curbing their freedom of expression but rather that those two have shown that they desired to appear as threatening. They will have to face the consequences of their actions.

Read our previous post on this story HERE

Goad Gatsby

Goad Gatsby

A journalist from Richmond and contributor on Open Source RVA on WRIR 97.3FM.

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