Berkeley Restaurant Worker Resigns After Taking Part in White Nationalist Rally in Virginia

Editors note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that the Top Dog employee had been fired. Top Dog has issued a statement saying the employee had voluntarily resigned and was not fired.

A Berkeley restaurant employee who allegedly attended a white nationalist rally Friday in Charlottesville, Virginia, resigned from the restaurant Saturday, restaurant officials said Monday.

Cole White resigned from Top Dog, a business with two locations in Berkeley and one in Oakland, after social media posts from the Twitter account @YesYoureRacist and others identified him as a participant of the "Unite the Right" rally.

White's father late Monday at the family's Clayton home did not want to comment and said his attorney will be releasing a statement.

Neighbor Larry Pietrelli said he does not know the Whites, but added Cole White's views are not a reflection of the neighborhood and must be condemned.

"We are all people. We have to support each other and embrace diversity of who we are," Pietrelli said. "That's what makes America great -- diversity."

Others in the neighborhood late Monday said they are shocked because White's parents are Democrats.

Following White's resignation at Top Dog, Berkeley police received information about a credible threat made against the business, Sgt. Andrew Frankel said.

Police kept their eye on Top Dog's three locations overnight and officers will be making extra patrols when they can, Frankel said Monday.

Top Dog, which has been in business since 1966, said in a statement that on Saturday "we spoke with Cole White. During that conversation Cole chose to voluntarily resign his employment with Top Dog and we accepted his resignation."

The company said, "There have been reports that he was terminated. Those reports are false. There have been reports that Top Dog knowingly employs racists and promotes racist theology. That too is false."

"We pride ourselves on embracing and respecting all our differences and every individual's choice to do as that person wishes within the boundaries of the law," Top Dog officials said. "We do respect our employees' right to their opinions. They are free to make their own choices but must accept the responsibilities of those choices."

"Individual freedom and voluntary exchange are core to the philosophy of Top Dog," the company said. "We look forward to cooking the same great food for at least another 50 years."

Meanwhile, Bay Area electrician John Ramondetta, who was scheduled to speak at Charlottesville, was also outed online.

His union, IBEW Local 6, released a statement condemning white nationalism, but defending Ramondetta's right to free speech.

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