2017 Unite the Right Rally

2017 Unite the Right Rally

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Updated Dec 26, 2019 at 07:59AM EST by Y F.

Added Aug 12, 2017 at 04:00PM EDT by Don.

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Overview

The Unite the Right Rally was an alt-right, neo-Nazi and white nationalist demonstration held in Charlottesville, Virginia's Emancipation Park in mid-August 2017 to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. During the event, a car struck several attendees, killing one and injuring 19.

Background

On the evening of August 11th, 100 Unite the Right protesters marched on the University of Virginia campus while carrying tiki torches and chanting slogans such as "you will not replace us" and "white lives matter." That evening the news site Daily Progress[1] posted an article about the march, which included a widely circulated photograph of the attendees (shown below).


mesmerizing photo of the Charlottesville march of the Alt-Right

The following day, United the Right protesters clashed with Antifa and Black Lives Matter counter-protesters at Emancipation Park. That morning, the Virginia government subsequently declared a state of emergency and shut down the assembly as unlawful. Violence between protesters and counter-protesters subsequently broke out.

Developments

Airbnb Cancellations

Prior to the event, the website Airbnb canceled the account of several known attendees of the rally for violating part of the site's contract to "accept people regardless of their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age."

Car Attack

During the event, a gray Dodge Challenger rammed into the back of a vehicle into a group of counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 35. The driver, James Alex Fields Jr. was subsequently arrested.[2]



On December 14th, 2017, Fields, who has a history of supporting white supremacy, both by attending rallies and posting neo-Nazi content on his Facebook page, was charged with first-degree murder and nine other charges. According to BuzzFeed, [7] "First-degree murder requires proof that the crime was premeditated, which can be just moments before the incident took place. Second-degree murder requires malice in intent, but does not involve premeditation or planning."

Heather Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, told the Daily Beast[8] that she had to bury her daughter in an undisclosed, secret location to protect her grave from neo-Nazis. Additionally, Bro told the outlet that she is beginning to hold President Trump responsible for her daughter's murder.

"When I ask if she holds President Trump in any way responsible for her daughter’s death, Bro says: 'I’m starting to come to that conclusion because he definitely pushes forward a hateful agenda. There are family members that will possibly not have anything to do with me for saying so. Many family members are strong Trump supporters, and continue to be so despite everything they see.'"
Fields's Sentencing

On December 10th, 2018, the jury in the case of James Alex Fields Jr., the Neo-Nazi behind the car attack that killed Heather Heyer and injured dozens, recommended a sentence of life in prison plus 419 years. Judge Richard More, who is overseeing the trial, has scheduled sentence for March 29th, 2018. The judge has the option to lower the sentence but not increase it.[15]

Heyer's mother, Susan Bro said in her testimony at the hearing,[16] "Almost all members of our family have gone into grief therapy as the darkness has tried to swallow us whole. We are survivors, but we are much sadder survivors. We are forever scarred by the pain[…]I don’t hate Mr. Fields. I’m leaving him in the hands of justice."

Police Helicopter Crash

Meanwhile, a police helicopter crashed in the woods near the city, in which two people were killed.



Donald Trump's Response

That day, Donald Trump held a press conference addressing the event, saying "We condemn in the strongest possible terms, this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides (shown below).



That evening, Trump tweeted his condolences to the family of the woman killed by the car attack (shown below).


Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump Condolences to the family of the young woman killed today, and best regards to all of those injured, in Charlottesville, Virginia. So sad!

Rationalizing the KKK

In their review of Michael Wolff's Donald Trump exposé Fire and Fury, The New York Times[9] reported that the book makes mention of Trump's private rationalization of joining the Ku Klux Klan. They write:

"There are lots of arresting details in the book. We learn that the administration holds a special animus for what it calls “D.O.J. women,” or women who work in the Justice Department. Wolff writes that after the white supremacist mayhem in Charlottesville, Va., Trump privately rationalized 'why someone would be a member of the K.K.K.' The book recounts that after the political purge in Saudi Arabia, Trump boasted that he and Kushner engineered a coup: 'We’ve put our man on top!'"

Attendee Doxing

On August 12th, the @YesYoureRacist[3] Twitter feed posted several photographs of Unite the Right attendees marching with tiki torches, inviting readers to send the "names/profiles" of any men recognized in the pictures (shown below).


Yes, You're Racist @YesYoureRacist If you recognize any of the Nazis marching in #Charlottesville, send me their names/profiles and I'll make them famous #GoodNightAltRight

The same day, the account identified several people in the photographs, including waiter Cole White, student Peter Cvjetanovic and Twitter user @Millennial_Matt (shown below).[4][5][6]


Yes, You're Racist @YesYoureRacist UPDATE: Cole White, the first person l exposed, no longer has a job #GoodNightColeWhite #ExposeTheAltRight #Charlottesville Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We apologize for the delayed response, however we have been inundated with inquiries regarding the incident involving one of our employees that attended the railly in Charlottesville, Virginia. We will be releasing a statement on our website tomorrow. For now, we feel it is imperative to let you know that Cole White is no longer employed by top dog, LLC. Yes, You're Racist @YesYoureRacist This angry young man is Peter Cvjetanovic, a student at@unevadareno Peter Cvjetanovic Yes, You're Racist @YesYoureRacist Lil dude with the p--- 'stache is @millennial_matt, one of @bakedalaska's white supremacist homies

BakedAlaska Assault

During the rally, Twitter user @bakedalaska claimed to have been sprayed in the face with an unknown substance, originally believed to be pepper spray (shown below, left). On August 13th, Twitter user @Millennial_Matt uploaded a video claiming that @bakedalaska was in the hospital with potential "permanent damage to his eyes," and that he was attacked with a "chemical agent" or "an acid" by counter-protesters (shown below, right).



Amtrak Terrorism Incident

On October 22nd, 2017, a 26-year-old Missouri man named Taylor Michael Wilson allegedly broke into the engineer's quarters of an Amtrak train and was "playing with the controls." The train stopped in rural Nebraska, and the conductor and several others subdued Taylor, who reportedly "seemed half-crazed, making bizarre statements like, 'I'm the conductor, bitch' and 'What are you going to do, shoot me?'" Police found a .38 caliber handgun, ammunition, a knife, a hammer, a respirator mask and a business card for the National Social Movement on his person.[10] It was later reported that he had pulled the emergency brake.

Later, it was discovered that Wilson had traveled to Charlottesville for the Unite the Right rally and had frequently talk ed about "killing black people." The FBI charged Wilson with a terrorist act, based on his connections to white supremacy and neo-Nazi groups, during a bail hearing on December 28th.[11]

In the detention order, a magistrate wrote, "The facts set forth in the complaint affidavit indicate that defendant had great potential and the inclination to cause great harm to persons on the train and perhaps others in a nearby community if the train had actually wrecked."

According to NBC, Wilson's cousin, whom he was living with, showed investigators Wilson's secret armory, which contained a tactical vest, 11 AR-15 rifle magazines and other accessories, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, a pressure plate that can be used to make a bomb, gunpowder and white supremacy documents.

Unite the Right 2

On August 12th, 2018, a rally named "Unite the Right 2," organized by white supremacist Jason Kessler, was held at Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. According to NBC News,[14] "fewer than 20 people" attended the rally opposed to the "hundreds of counter-protesters."

That day, a Twitter Moments[13] page titled "Unite the Right 2 organizers arrive in DC to crowds of counter-protesters," which highlighted videos of counter-protesters and Antifa at the event (shown below).




The event was condemned by D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence make remarks condemning "all types of racism and violence" and "bigotry, racism and hate," respectively.

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