Violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville ends in murder

Aftermath of Nazi attack
Aftermath of Nazi attack

Charlottesville, VA – The “Unite The Right” rally took place as scheduled in Emancipation Park on Saturday afternoon. As expected, thousands of anti-racist protesters arrived to confront the neo-nazis, KKK members, and other self-identified racists and fascists who had gathered around the statue of Robert E Lee.

Submitted by libcom on August 15, 2017

In a repeat of the previous night’s events when torch-carrying racists surrounded, trapped, and brutalized student protesters at the University of Virginia, police on Saturday stood back as “Unite The Right” attendees repeatedly left the boundaries of the park to attack counter-protesters. (At least one person was killed and 35 injured when a crowd of counter-protesters was rammed by a car, and the alleged driver James Alex Fields, Jr. was charged with second-degree murder – more below).

The counter-protesters were quick to fight back and a general melee quickly ensued. After a few hours, riot police arrived in Emancipation Park and declared an unlawful assembly.

The barricades surrounding “Unite The Right,” which had been taken down by neo-nazis to let them charge their opponents, were put back up by the same groups when police arrived.

At around this time, anti-racist protesters advanced, took down the barricades, and moved to push the white supremacists out of the park at the same time riot police were preparing to confront both groups.

Police then pushed the white supremacists out of Emancipation Park, and closed the park. Richard Spencer and his neo-nazi cohorts were seen repeatedly fighting with the police, yet none of them were arrested.

Unable to continue rallying in the park, the white supremacists took to the streets, where they were quickly followed and confronted by anti-racists. Several more extremely violent fights took place, with police looking on from their nearby substation.

After the fights ended, most of the hundreds of white supremacists had apparently dispersed, although some were still seen moving around downtown in small groups. Anti-racist protesters were still marching in the streets, generally unopposed, chanting anti-racist slogans.

As a crowd of hundreds of counter-protesters was marching downtown, a vehicle turned a corner and accelerated and plowed into the crowd. It struck several other vehicles, and people were pinned between cars, as well as run over.

After speeding directly into the crowd, the vehicle then reversed at high speed, running over the just-injured people lying on the ground.

Ambulances did not arrive for quite some time, and law enforcement’s first response was to deploy an armored vehicle with a SWAT officer on top pointing a teargas grenade launcher at the crowd as street medics were helping the wounded.

Police have confirmed one person was killed and twenty were injured. There are believed to be more fatalities that have not yet been confirmed.

The driver of the vehicle was reportedly pulled over and arrested. The vehicle, easily identified due to the damage it sustained, was later located after the driver was arrested. Saturday night, authorities identified the driver as 20-year-old James Alex Fields, Jr. of Ohio.

The location of the vehicle suggests Fields was trying to reach the highway to flee the scene of the crime.

His mother has stated that she knew he traveled to Virginia to attend the “Unite The Right” rally. He has been charged with second degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, and failure to stop after an accident.

The Department of Justice has announced it is conducting a civil rights investigation into the incident. Police say they believe the attack was premeditated.

Before the vehicle attack, Fields was seen wielding a shield with the insignia of “Vanguard America,” a far-right group which describes itself as “the Face of American Fascism” on Twitter.

At least one shield with “Vanguard America” insignia was also used by white supremacists when attacking a group of people inside a parking garage, Unicorn Riot reporters documented.

“Vanguard America” symbols were spotted in Charlottesville in a parking lot attack, as well as next to alleged murderer James Alex Fields, Jr.

Late Saturday night it was announced that one of the anti-racist protesters hit by Fields, 32-year old Heather D. Heyer, had died. Heyer was a paralegal at a law firm in Charlottesville. Her friends and family say she was known for standing up to bullies as a child and as an adult used her legal knowledge to help people facing hard times with problems like reducing their medical debts.

“People will remember her name and remember what she died for,” Heyer’s friend Felicia Correa told the Washington Post. “She died for a reason. I don’t see any difference in her or a soldier who died in war…She was there standing up for what was right. I just want to make sure that it wasn’t in vain.”

Heather Heyer

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A law enforcement helicopter also crashed, killing Lt. H. Jay Cullen, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates. The Associated Press reported Virginia State Police announced Troy Dunigan, a 21-year-old from Chattanooga, Tennessee, was charged with disorderly conduct; Jacob L. Smith, a 21-year-old from Louisa, Virginia, was charged with assault and battery; and James M. O’Brien, 44, of Gainesville, Florida, was charged with carrying a concealed handgun.

As news spread of the attacks, spontaneous gatherings in Oakland, Minneapolis and elsewhere took place in the evening. Dozens of groups have called for gatherings on Sunday to “Stand in solidarity with Charlottesville.”

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