Multiple Arrests Made in Connection With 2017 White Nationalist Torch-Lit March, Rally in Charlottesville
Multiple arrests have been made in connection with a white nationalist torch-lit march and rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year, federal authorities said Tuesday.
The arrests come more than a year after violence broke out when hundreds of white nationalists descended on Charlottesville to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
U.S. Attorney Thomas Cullen scheduled a news conference for Tuesday afternoon to announce the charges.
Violence first erupted on Aug. 11, 2017, as a crowd of white nationalists marched through the University of Virginia campus carrying torches.
The following day, more violence broke out between white nationalists and counterprotesters during the “Unite the Right” rally.
The crowd was eventually forced to disperse, but a woman was killed when a car prosecutors say was driven by a man fascinated by Adolf Hitler later plowed into a crowd of peaceful counterprotesters. The death toll jumped to three when a state police helicopter that had been monitoring the event crashed, killing two troopers.
The suspected driver, 21-year-old James Fields Jr., of Maumee, Ohio, has been charged with federal hate crimes in the death of Heather Heyer, 32. Fields also faces state murder charges; his trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 26.
President Donald Trump sparked a public outcry after he blamed both sides for the violence on.
The rally was believed to be the largest gathering of white nationalists in at least a decade. Street fights broke out between white nationalists and counterdemonstrators before the event began. The fighting lasted nearly an hour in view of police until authorities forced the crowd to disperse.
An independent report released three months later found serious police and government failures in responding to the violence.