Suspect charged with murder after car hits protesters at 'Nazi' rally in Virginia

Suspect charged with murder after car hits protesters at 'Nazi' rally in Virginia
August 13 02:25 2017 Print This Article

Updated August 13, 2017 12:51:12

Police have charged a 20-year-old man with second-degree murder after a car was driven into a crowd protesting against a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Charlottesville Police Department said in a statement that James Alex Fields Jr also faced three counts of malicious wounding, and one count related to leaving the scene.

A 32-year-old woman was killed when Fields allegedly drove his car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters during unrest in the college town, around two hours’ drive south-west of Washington DC. Other demonstrators were left fighting for their lives.

Two police officers also died in a helicopter crash which local police said was related to the rally.

It was not clear what caused the helicopter to come down.

The state’s governor blamed “white supremacists and Nazis” for sparking the violence, which saw rival groups clash after far-right protesters converged to demonstrate against a plan to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E Lee.

US President Donald Trump came under fire for his response to the events, in which he condemned “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides”.

“We have so many incredible things happening in our country, so when I watch Charlottesville, to me it is very, very sad,” he said.

Mr Trump ignored reporters who asked whether he had spoken out strongly enough against white nationalists.

Republican senator Marco Rubio tweeted: “Very important for the nation to hear POTUS describe events in #Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by #whitesupremacists.”

White supremacist website Daily Stormer said Mr Trump’s comments were “good”.

Ted Cruz, another Republican, urged the Department of Justice to “to immediately investigate and prosecute this grotesque act of domestic terrorism”.

“The Nazis, the KKK, and white supremacists are repulsive and evil, and all of us have a moral obligation to speak out against the lies, bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred that they propagate,” he said.

Charlottesville’s Mayor Michael Signer blamed Mr Trump’s political rhetoric during the election campaign for inflaming racial prejudices.

“I place the blame for a lot of what you’re seeing in American today right at the doorstep of the White House and the people around the President.”

Democratic Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared an emergency and halted the white nationalist rally.

“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,” Mr McAuliffe told a news conference.

“Shame on you.”

More to come.

ABC/wires

Topics: race-relations, activism-and-lobbying, world-politics, united-states

First posted August 13, 2017 12:25:13

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Scott Menard
Scott Menard

He is a leading authority on business trends including ‘big data’, self-employment and the social media revolution. He’s the author of the award-winning book, Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed (2011, Wiley) and a regular speaker for Bloomberg TV. He has spoken about global mega trends, big data and the social media revolution at conferences and business events around the world .

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