Protest by White Supremacists Leads to 3 Deaths and 35 Injuries in Virginia

Tragedy strikes when white nationalists, KKK, and neo-Nazi members organized a “Unite the Right” rally on Saturday leading to violence with individuals who came to protest their hate rally. The violence lead the Governor of Virginia to declare a state of emergency. During the rallies, a car plowed into a group of people marching against the hate groups. The driver, a 20-year-old white male from Ohio, killed a 32 year old woman. The driver, James Alex Fields, is now in custody and the case is being treated as a “criminal homicide.” Fields is now charged with second degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and failing to stop at an accident that resulted in death. Below are videos showing the crash and the violence that occurred during the opposing rallies.

Two other deaths occurred nearby when a police helicopter crashed while monitoring the altercations between the rallies. This helicopter crash is still being investigated and no one on the ground was injured.

Eyewitnesses reported, and as seen in many videos, the driver of the car slowed down when they were far from the large group of anti-hate protestors so people would let them through until they got close, where they then sped up to cause the most damage possible. Due to this finding, officials are saying the crash was premeditated and not accidental. Cameramen and women that witnessed the crash ran after the car after it began to back away. They chased the car at as many turns as they could while alerting police of the car’s location and description.

Car Hitting Protestors
Car driving into people protesting white supremacist rally, killing 1 and injuring 19. Photo by Ryan M. Kelly

The hate groups came together in Virginia to protest the removal of Robert E. Lee’s statue from Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia. Robert E. Lee was a general of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia during the Civil War. The hate groups came from all over the country.

Many are upset with President Trump’s reaction to the violence when he said, “we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides.” Many are upset with the President because in recent days, he has been able to call out people by name when he condemns them but refuses to condemn the hate groups by saying “white nationalist,” “KKK,” “neo-Nazi,” or “white supremacy” in his condemnation of the violence. The President has broadly condemned the violence as a whole, rather than state that he condemns white nationalists.

The white nationalists chanted phrases like “you will not replace us,” ‘Jew will not replace us,” and “blood and soil,” which is a Nazi racist chant. The former KKK leader, David Duke, who ran for Senate in Louisiana in 2016, and was also at the rally stated, “this represents a turning point for the people of this country. We are determined to take this country back. We’re gonna fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believe in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back.”

After Trump broadly condemned the violence,  David Duke tweeted to the President, “I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror and remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists.” Senator Marco Rubio tweeted that its “very important for the nation to hear the President describe events in Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by white supremacists.”

Analysts like Kirsten Haglund have stated that the American people may be asking too much of Donald Trump by thinking he will condemn white nationalists, because President Trump has retweeted white nationalist groups and made prejudice statements in his campaign rallies. Governor McAuliffe of Virginia stated after the incident, “I have a message to all the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today, our message is plain and simple, go home. You are not wanted in this great commonwealth, shame on you. You pretend that you are patriots, but you are not patriots.”

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