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Officials: White nationalist rally linked to 3 deaths

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — A car plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting a white nationalist rally Saturday in a Virginia college town, killing one person, hurting more than a dozen others and ratcheting up tension in a day full of violent confrontations.

Shortly after, a Virginia State Police helicopter that officials said was assisting with the rally crashed outside Charlottesville, killing the pilot and a trooper.

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Photos by The Associated Press

The chaos boiled over at what is believed to be the largest group of white nationalists to come together in a decade. The governor declared a state of emergency, and police dressed in riot gear ordered people out. The group had gathered to protest plans to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, and others arrived to protest the racism.

Matt Korbon, a 22-year-old University of Virginia student, said several hundred counter-protesters were marching when "suddenly there was just this tire screeching sound." A silver Dodge Challenger smashed into another car, then backed up, barreling through "a sea of people."

The impact hurled people into the air. Those left standing scattered, screaming and running for safety in different directions.

The driver was later arrested, authorities said.

The turbulence began Friday night, when the white nationalists carried torches though the University of Virginia campus. It quickly spiraled into violence Saturday morning. Hundreds of people threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays. At least one person was arrested in connection.

City officials said the car collision left 19 people injured and said they treated 35 patients altogether.

State Police said in a statement that the helicopter was "assisting public safety resources with the ongoing situation" when it crashed in a wooded area. The pilot, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, Virginia, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton, Virginia, died at the scene.

President Donald Trump condemned "in the strongest possible terms" what he called an "egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides" after the clashes. He called for "a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives."

Trump said he had spoken with the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, and "we agreed that the hate and the division must stop and must stop right now."

But some of the white nationalists cited Trump's victory as validation for their beliefs, and Trump's critics pointed to the president's racially tinged rhetoric as exploiting the nation's festering racial tension.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson noted that Trump for years publicly questioned President Barack Obama's citizenship.

"We are in a very dangerous place right now," he said.

Right-wing blogger Jason Kessler had called for what he termed a "pro-white" rally in Charlottesville, sparked by the monument decision. White nationalists and their opponents promoted the event for weeks.

Oren Segal, who directs the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism, said multiple white power groups gathered in Charlottesville, including members of neo-Nazi organizations, racist skinhead groups and Ku Klux Klan factions.

The white nationalist organizations Vanguard America and Identity Evropa; the Southern nationalist League of the South; the National Socialist Movement; the Traditionalist Workers Party; and the Fraternal Order of Alt Knights also were on hand, he said, along with several groups with a smaller presence.

On the other side, anti-fascist demonstrators also gathered in Charlottesville, but they generally aren't organized like white nationalist factions, said Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Many others were just locals caught in the fray.

Colleen Cook, 26, stood on a curb shouting at the rally attendees to go home.

Cook, a teacher who attended the University of Virginia, said she sent her son, who is black, out of town for the weekend.

"This isn't how he should have to grow up," she said.

Cliff Erickson leaned against a fence and took in the scene. He said he thinks removing the statue amounts to erasing history and said the "counter-protesters are crazier than the alt-right."

"Both sides are hoping for a confrontation," he said.

It's the latest hostility in Charlottesville since the city about 100 miles outside of Washington, D.C., voted earlier this year to remove a statue of Lee.

In May, a torch-wielding group that included prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer gathered around the statue for a nighttime protest, and in July, about 50 members of a North Carolina-based KKK group traveled there for a rally, where they were met by hundreds of counter-protesters.

Kessler said this week that the rally is partly about the removal of Confederate symbols but also about free speech and "advocating for white people."

"This is about an anti-white climate within the Western world and the need for white people to have advocacy like other groups do," he said in an interview.

Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer said he was disgusted that the white nationalists had come to his town and blamed Trump for inflaming racial prejudices.

"I'm not going to make any bones about it. 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," he said.

Charlottesville, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a liberal-leaning city that's home to the flagship UVA and Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.

The statue's removal is part of a broader city effort to change the way Charlottesville's history of race is told in public spaces. The city has also renamed Lee Park, where the statue stands, and Jackson Park, named for Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. They're now called Emancipation Park and Justice Park, respectively.

For now, the Lee statue remains. A group called the Monument Fund filed a lawsuit arguing that removing the statue would violate a state law governing war memorials. A judge has agreed to temporarily block the city from removing the statue for six months.

Read Sunday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

Comments

RBear says...

Why after all these years do these people still exist? Is it so difficult for them to even consider racial harmony? I have no tolerance for these groups and anyone who supports them. The fact that they are protesting the removal of those leaders of the rebellion shows how important that removal is now. These people have locked onto those leaders as icons. This is not about Southern heritage other than a heritage I wish to see abolished.

Posted 12 August 2017, 11:59 a.m. Suggest removal

23cal says...

"Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer said he was disgusted that the white nationalists had come to his town and blamed President Donald Trump for inflaming racial prejudices with his campaign last year.

"I'm not going to make any bones about it. 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."
*
Gee........you mean the cockroaches coming out now isn't just coincidence? Like the racist and white nationalist support for Trump isn't just a coincidence?

Posted 12 August 2017, 12:45 p.m. Suggest removal

23cal says...

Remember, all of this started because the city of Charlottesville removed a statue of Robert E. Lee from that park and that infuriated these people because it negated their "heritage." Also remember, celebrating the confederacy had nothing to do with racism, nor did the Civil War. And what better way to prove that than by having KKK and racist Nazis march for white people in response?

Posted 12 August 2017, 12:57 p.m. Suggest removal

ARMNAR says...

Trump's base.

Posted 12 August 2017, 1:17 p.m. Suggest removal

djigoo says...

"This represents a turning point for the people of this country. We are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back.” David Duke, 8/12/17

Posted 12 August 2017, 2:36 p.m. Suggest removal

dearlo says...

I believe that everyone is equal but with that said I don't like to see history changed, it is what it is! why do we have BLM, Black Beauty Pageant, Black History Month, Black Award Shows streets renamed, etch.. Slavery was wrong but the South didn't start it. To each his own believes and I want history to stay the same. people should stop living In the past because no race of people are better than any other. our way of life is our right too. so sick and tied of certain groups trying to remake America their way. The non religion sure have no problem using our money In God We Trust!!!!

Posted 12 August 2017, 3:11 p.m. Suggest removal

PopulistMom says...

The City of Charlottesville has a right to remove or add statues as they please. Trump has stirred up much of this hate. He can't really denounce the alt right movement while Bannon and Miller work in the White House. Anybody who voted for Trump should be ashamed.

Posted 12 August 2017, 3:32 p.m. Suggest removal

RBear says...

dearlo, I'd respond but that's the biggest bunch of rambling nonsense I've seen in a while. You do understand removal of a statue honoring a rebellious general is not eradicating history. The statue has nothing to do with history. It has everything to do with venerating a person who represents a class of people who fought to preserve slavery. Slavery may not have started in the South, but it ended with the South fighting to preserve it.

Posted 12 August 2017, 3:33 p.m. Suggest removal

NoUserName says...

I disagree Pop. While I'm not one of those that blames Obama for everything under the sun, I've been saying this was coming long before Trump declared his candidacy due to a lot of what happened under Obama's watch. The beer summit. Trayvon. Holder's JD going hard to find something to prosecute in incidents like Wilson/Brown while failing to investigate when the colors were reversed. Fact is that Obama set race relations way back. Which is ridiculous given that the country came far enough to elect a black man president. If Trump gets any blame, it's for capitalizing on that unrest rather than helping to quell it.

Posted 12 August 2017, 4:23 p.m. Suggest removal

PopulistMom says...

One of the leaders of the white supremacist march is wearing an Arkansas Engineering shirt. I wonder who that dude is.

Posted 12 August 2017, 4:39 p.m. Suggest removal

PopulistMom says...

NUN,

Blaming Obama for racism is like blaming the Holocaust on Jews. There is no excuse for hate and prejudice.

Posted 12 August 2017, 4:42 p.m. Suggest removal

Packman says...

Mike Huckabee's statement on this is perfect. And yet fake news enters the picture. The anti protestors were anything but peaceful as stated in this article. They were throwing bottles and sticks and attacked the other side on numerous occasions. It's all on tape and cannot be denied.
.

Posted 12 August 2017, 4:42 p.m. Suggest removal

NoUserName says...

Good old Pop. When you have no response, you throw out wild accusations. I neither blamed Obama for racism nor gave an excuse for hate and prejudice. I'm not sure why I bother to engage you anymore.

Posted 12 August 2017, 4:50 p.m. Suggest removal

RBear says...

Pack, you completely blew your attempt at making a rational, focused statement. I was about to post Huckabee's statement, which I agree was spot on. Regardless what the counterprotesters were doing, the white supremacists invaded this town for a stupid reason. Quit trying to be an apologist.

Posted 12 August 2017, 5:06 p.m. Suggest removal

Shearload says...

NUN, you blamed Obama for racism. You were mealy-mouthed about it, but you argue that Obama deserves some of the blame. That was your only point in your earlier post.

Posted 12 August 2017, 5:11 p.m. Suggest removal

NoUserName says...

Really? I would have said my argument is that Obama stirred the pot more (me) than Trump stirred the pot (Pop) and that Trump just capitalized on that already existing pot stirring. But whatever. I'm out.

Posted 12 August 2017, 5:24 p.m. Suggest removal

23cal says...

When terrorists abroad run a vehicle into a crowd, Trump condemns "radical Islam". When his Nazi buddies do it in Charlottesville, he talks of violence "on many sides".
*
This is what I would have expected had George Wallace been elected in 1968.
The Republican party has reached rock bottom with Trump.

Posted 12 August 2017, 5:35 p.m. Suggest removal

RBear says...

Pack, to go a step further after the violent protests by white supremacists Friday night on the campus of UVA I can understand the fact that counterprotesters might take an aggressive stance. I don't condone that, but understand why they may have taken that stance. Key difference between my comment and yours. I don't condone the violent acts. You say nothing. You take what can be viewed as an apologist stance with no condemnation.

Posted 12 August 2017, 5:39 p.m. Suggest removal

GCW says...

Everybody who voted for Trump couldn't have possibly fit in that car. It was driven by one guy. Blaming everybody for one man's F**ked up act is a form of hatred.

Posted 12 August 2017, 5:46 p.m. Suggest removal

RBear says...

While the president presses to call out "radical Islamic terrorism," he refuses to call out white supremacists, taking a neutral stance on the matter. David Duke seemed to sum up what many of us know when responding to Trump's tweet, "I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists." Maybe that's why Trump refused to call out white supremacists.

Posted 12 August 2017, 5:46 p.m. Suggest removal

RBear says...

And for the prize of stupidest comment on the issue, GCW for the win.

Posted 12 August 2017, 6:07 p.m. Suggest removal

PopulistMom says...

Not everybody who voted for Trump killed people in this car, but you did vote for somebody who appealed to white supremacists. Trump still does not denounce white supremacy and seems to support it.

Posted 12 August 2017, 6:07 p.m. Suggest removal

MadyJ says...

How about creating an artistic inspirational history in these two parks in Charlottesville, Virginia ... life as it should be--not as it was ... and is. Call the two parks 1. The Jackson and Lee Park and the other 2. The Lee and Jackson Park. Maybe put the Jackson and Lee statutes together--face to face--end the war in a truce--the way it should have ended--instead of a long, bloody defeat and a bitter surrender which never united the nation.

Posted 12 August 2017, 6:54 p.m. Suggest removal

HM2 says...

The white nationalist group had permits to assemble, did the Anti- protesters?....NO. Who threw the first punch? the anti- protesters. who drove the car into the crowd? an anti- protester.

Posted 12 August 2017, 7:33 p.m. Suggest removal

NoUserName says...

I was under the impression the car was driven INTO the anti-protesters. That would make it part of the white nationalist group, no? The anti-protesters, however, looked to me to be blocking the street. While not a valid reason to plow somebody over, we're allowing way too much latitude when it comes to protests. As a result, this happening was only a matter of time...

Posted 12 August 2017, 7:51 p.m. Suggest removal

DontDrinkDatKoolAid says...

The South will rise again. Just Jon B.

Posted 12 August 2017, 8:32 p.m. Suggest removal

RBear says...

And NUN comes in Second for insanity.

Posted 12 August 2017, 8:32 p.m. Suggest removal

GCW says...

Not hardly.

Posted 12 August 2017, 8:33 p.m. Suggest removal

ARMNAR says...

Not surprised to see our resident Klansman HM2 stick up for the inbred morons who caused this mess.

Posted 12 August 2017, 8:35 p.m. Suggest removal

NoUserName says...

Really Bear? My posts are spot on whether you want to believe it or not. You didn't seen this coming? I've been predicting a race war since shortly after Ferguson. Looks like it's just about here. And we should ALL be scared.

Posted 12 August 2017, 8:39 p.m. Suggest removal

GoBigRed says...

HM-2 - The driver was an anti-protester? The suspect's been identified as James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old Ohio man. He's being held on suspicion of second-degree murder, malicious wounding, failure to stop for an accident involving a death, and hit and run ... Virginia police told the Washington Post. He's reportedly being held without bail. Fields, 20, is from Maumee, Ohio, outside of Toledo. Fields registered as a Republican in 2016.

Posted 12 August 2017, 9:06 p.m. Suggest removal

Packman says...

Hey RBear - What the F is wrong with you? I apologize for nothing but only point out the dishonesty of the legacy media. The white supremacists needed an a$$ whuppin but there was no need to lie and say the other side was peaceful.

Posted 12 August 2017, 10 p.m. Suggest removal

RBear says...

Pack, I know. You never apologize for anything. I got that a LONG time ago. Nuff said on this particular aspect of the incident. Counterprotesters are just supposed to ignore a bunch of white supremacists coming into town, marching through a college campus with torches shouting "blood and soil," confronting counters with violence, and then showing up the next day ready for even more violence. Yea, in your eyes the counters were also to blame for a person getting killed by an idiot running the counters down, then trying to speed away.

Posted 12 August 2017, 10:13 p.m. Suggest removal

RBear says...

BTW Pack, why is it our president berates others about not calling out "radical Islamic terrorists," but can't even muster the courage to call this out as violence from white supremacists, opting instead for pulling the CS move like you of laying the blame on everyone? Yea, you and our president are pretty out of touch on this one.

Posted 12 August 2017, 10:21 p.m. Suggest removal

ARMNAR says...

If you still support Trump after his abject failure to explicitly condemn White Nationalists, you are complicit in what happened today.

And PopMom, reports are that the Ar Engineering shirt wearer is Billy Roper from Mountain View...well known Neo Nazi and Trump fan.

Posted 12 August 2017, 10:35 p.m. Suggest removal

carpenterretired says...

Well another day in Americas experiment in fascism .

Posted 12 August 2017, 11:18 p.m. Suggest removal

PopulistMom says...

NoUserName,

The anti-protesters were mostly white so I would not characterize this as a race war--just liberals against racists coming to their town.

Posted 13 August 2017, 6:12 a.m. Suggest removal

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