Rally in Charlottesville: Updating

Aug 11, 2017

This post is updating with Tweets and dispatches from Charlottesville in the aftermath of yesterday's 'Unite the Right' Rally.

Update, Thursday 8:30 AM:

Update, 4:30 PM: The FBI has established a tip line as part of its investigation of Saturday's violence:

Following the events that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia, the weekend of August 11-August 13, 2017,many citizens have proactively contacted law enforcement to provide information and video captured ofpossible criminal activities and persons during that time frame. Due to the volume of information that isbeing shared, the FBI established a tip-line and link for those who wish to voluntarily submit any photos,video or information surrounding these events.Tip-Line Information: 1-800- CALL FBI (1-800- 225-5324) Select the option for “Recent Events in Charlottesville, Virginia” Digital media tips webpage - https://www.fbi.gov/charlottesvilleThe Civil Rights Division, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia and theRichmond Division of the FBI appreciate the assistance that has been provided thus far and encouragescontinued cooperation with law enforcement. 

Update, 2:50 PM: Update from UVA Health System:

We have an update on the 9 patients remaining at UVA Medical Center from Saturday’s car incident on the Downtown Mall. Four patients are in good condition and five patients has been discharged. This is our only planned update for today.

Update, 2:10 PM: Ralph Northam, the Democratic candidate for governor, appears to call for removal of confederate statues:

Update: 12:15 PM: A memorial service for Heather Heyer has ended. From the Associated Press:

The mother of the young woman who lost her life during violent weekend clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, says the way to truly honor Heather Heyer is to "make a difference in the world."

Susan Bro urged about 1,000 mourners gathered inside the Paramount Theatre on Wednesday to "find in your heart that small spark of accountability."

"You poke that finger at yourself like Heather would have done and you make it happen."

"You take that extra step and you find a way to make a difference in the world!"

Bro said Heather's participation in the protests against white nationalists was "not the end of her legacy."

"It was just the beginning of Heather's legacy."

Update: Wednesday 8:15 AM:

Update, 5:50 PM: Governor Terry McAuliffe responds to President Trump's comments:

RICHMOND – Governor McAuliffe released the following statement after President Trump’s press conference this afternoon:  

“Neo-Nazis, Klansmen and white supremacists came to Charlottesville heavily armed, spewing hatred and looking for a fight. One of them murdered a young woman in an act of domestic terrorism, and two of our finest officers were killed in a tragic accident while serving to protect this community. This was not 'both sides.'

“Our Commonwealth and nation are still reeling from one of the largest outpourings of hatred and violence we have experienced in recent history. We need real leadership, starting with our President.

“Leaders from every corner of this nation and every partisan point of view have denounced these people and their acts in plain terms without hesitation or dissembling. The American people need the same from their President and we need it now.”

Update, 5:15 PM: From the Associated Press:

President Donald Trump says the groups protesting against white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, were "also very violent."

Trump is calling those protesters the "alt-left." He says there is "blame on both sides" after the deadly violence over the weekend.

After his initial statement on the Charlottesville violence, Trump was criticized for appearing to condemn both the white nationalists and those who were protesting them. He tried to clean up his remarks Monday.

Trump says some of the facts about the deadly violence in Charlottesville still aren't known.

Update, 10:20 AM: 

Update, Tuesday 9:45 AM: Charlottesville police are collecting reports of assaults during Saturday's violence:

Charlottesville Police request that people contact them if they witnessed or were victims of a crime on Saturday, August 12. Please email information, including how best to contact you to cvillerally@charlottesville.org.

Update, 4:00 PM: Governor Terry McAuliffe has ordered a review of Saturday's events and will form a commission to recommend executive and legislative proposals to confront racism.

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe released the statement below regarding the next steps he and his administration will take following the events this past weekend in Charlottesville, VA:

“Today, I convened an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss the next steps we, as a commonwealth, must take in order to begin the arduous process of healing our community and confronting the racism that stubbornly remains in our nation. The events of this weekend have only strengthened our resolve to combat hatred and bigotry, and I want Virginia to be a leader in the national conversation about how we move forward. I have directed my team to impanel a commission with representatives from community organizations, faith leaders, and law enforcement to make actionable recommendations for executive and legislative solutions to advance our mission of reconciliation, unity, and public safety. 

“Also, while we continue to grieve and support the families of those who lost their lives, we must learn from this tragic event to prevent a recurrence in our community or elsewhere.  In that spirit, I also directed my team to conduct an extensive review that will include how we issue rally permits, law enforcement preparation and response, and coordination at the local, state, and federal level. In addition, the federal government must focus on the threat of domestic terrorism especially when it comes from beyond state lines.

“Finally, I commend our Virginia State Police and National Guard personnel, who worked in support of the City of Charlottesville, for their tireless work this weekend under very challenging and volatile circumstances. Without their extensive preparations and measured actions, we would be facing a far more grave situation today.”

Update, 3:09 PM: From UVA Health System:

We have an update on the 10 patients remaining at UVA Medical Center that were here following Saturday’s car incident on the Downtown Mall. Nine patients are in good condition and one patient has been discharged. This is our only planned update for today.

Update, 1:30 PM: WASHINGTON (AP) — Under pressure all weekend, President Donald Trump on Monday named and condemned hate groups as "repugnant" and declared "racism is evil" in an updated, more forceful statement on the deadly, race-fueled clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Trump had been under increasing pressure to call out the groups by name after his previous remarks bemoaning violence on "many sides" prompted criticism from fellow Republicans as well as Democrats. The president described members of the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists who take part in violence as "criminals and thugs" in a prepared statement from the White House.

In his remarks he also called for unity.

"We must love each other, show affection for each other and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry and violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans," he said.

Update, Monday, 11:32 AM: A judge has denied bond for an Ohio man accused of plowing his car into a crowd at a white nationalist rally.

Judge Robert Downer said during a bond hearing Monday he would appoint a lawyer for James Alex Fields Jr.

Fields is charged with second-degree murder and other counts after authorities say he drove into the crowd, fatally injuring one woman and hurting 19 others.

The rally was held by white nationalists and others who oppose a plan to remove from a Charlottesville park of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Fields has been in custody since Saturday.

A high school teacher said Fields was fascinated with Nazism, idolized Adolf Hitler and had been singled out by school officials in the 9th grade for his "deeply held, radical" convictions on race.

Update, 3:30 PM: Statement from NAACP Virginia State Conference

The presidents of the Virginia State Conference of the NAACP, and the Albemarle-Charlottesville NAACP have issued the following joint statement regarding the senseless racist hate rally, violence and loss of life in Charlottesville, Virginia:

“As people can see now very clearly, not voting has consequences,” stated Janette Martin, president of the Albemarle-Charlottesville NAACP. "On numerous occasions the city of Charlottesville has spent thousands of dollars to support KKK rallies - and city merchants have expressed their dissatisfaction with the loss of revenue that occurs during these rallies." Martin added. "Violence did not have to be demonstrated in order to express freedom of speech. It appears that free speech was secondary to their main purpose which was to wreak havoc and violence in the community.They have been emboldened by the words and vocabulary of elected officials at the highest levels."  Martin concluded, " we commend the people of faith here in Charlottesville for working hard to set a moral tone, and sacrificing themselves and their safety to drown out the message of hate especially as we have students and parents returning to the UVA campus for the start of the school year."

“The terrible incidence of violence in Charlottesville is a painful reminder of the  blatant racism, unbridled lynchings and other violence against citizens of African descent that permeated the history of this country,” said Linda Thomas, president of the Virginia State Conference of the NAACP. "This goes to the very core of the existence of the NAACP and our continuing struggle against forces of hate." 

 "White supremacists and today’s purveyors of hate should find no shadows in which to hide. Our forefathers shed blood so that in 2017, this type of violence would be a footnote of the past." Added Thomas, "We applaud our governor whose statement today is in alignment with the NAACP mission. And we encourage the Governor to use the full force of his executive powers to eradicate race based barriers in all areas of life within the state. The Virginia State Conference will remain steadfast in our advocacy and activism as we push forward in our fight for legislative changes, expansion of voting rights and sound public policies that equally serve and protect all citizens within the commonwealth. And we will persist until we drive racism, and racist behavior from our midst." 

“We call on President Trump to denounce this act as an act of terrorism and condemn the repeated rhetoric which has helped to fuel this climate of division and derision,” said Derrick Johnson, interim president and CEO of the NAACP. “ Our hearts and prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives in Charlottesville. We stand firm with our commitment to acknowledge our differences, to embrace them as the richness of the American mosaic and we’ll continue to lead the fight for the right to peaceably assemble.”

Update, 3:00 PM: Associated Press:

The man who organized a rally in Charlottesville that sparked violent clashes between white supremacist groups and counter-protesters tried to hold a news conference a day after the deadly event, but a crowd of several hundred booed him and forced him away from the lectern.

Jason Kessler is a blogger based in Charlottesville, and as he came out to speak Sunday afternoon near City Hall, he was surrounded by cameras and people. Some people chanted and made noises with drums and other instruments. Among the chants: "You're wearing the wrong hood," a reference to the Ku Klux Klan.

Kessler mimicked looking at his watch and indicated he'd wait to speak.

A few people approached, crossing the line of TV cameras.

One man pushed Kessler. A woman tackled him.

Kessler asked state troopers on the scene for help. Eventually they escorted him off. State police say troopers approached the area as the crowd got aggressive but made no arrests.

UPDATE, 2:38 PM: Patient update from UVA Health System:

We have updates on the 19 patients from the car incident Saturday that were transported to UVA Medical Center. Ten are in good condition and nine have been discharged. We have treated additional patients related to Saturday’s events, but we do not have an exact number of patients. This is our only planned update for today.

UPDATE, 10:45 AM: The Associated Press is reporting that the 32-year-old woman killed in yesterday's vehicular attack on a pedestrian crowd in Charlottesville has been identified as Heather Heyer of Greene County, Virginia.

UPDATE, 9:50 AM: The location of a vigil in Roanoke has been changed.  The vigil will be held at First Baptist Church - Gainsboro at 6:00 PM.

UPDATE, Sunday 9:45 AM: Governor Terry McAuliffe is attending church services in Charlottesville and speaking with congregants about Saturday's events.  He is attending a 9:30 service at Mount Zion First African Baptist Church and a 10:30 service at First Baptist Church.

UPDATE, 11:15 PM: A civil rights investigation with federal support has been opened into the fatal car attack on the downtown mall in Charlottesville today.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued the following statement on the opening of a federal investigation into today’s incident in Charlottesville, VA:

“The violence and deaths in Charlottesville strike at the heart of American law and justice. When such actions arise from racial bigotry and hatred, they betray our core values and cannot be tolerated. I have talked with FBI Director Chris Wray, FBI agents on the scene, and law enforcement officials for the state of Virginia. The  FBI has been supporting state and local authorities throughout the day. U.S. Attorney Rick Mountcastle has commenced a federal investigation and will have the full support of the Department of Justice. Justice will prevail.”

Joint statement released by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia and the Richmond Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation:

“The Richmond FBI Field Office, the Civil Rights Division, and the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia have opened a civil rights investigation into the circumstances of the deadly vehicular incident that occurred earlier Saturday morning. The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence, and as this is an ongoing investigation we are not able to comment further at this time.” 

UPDATE, 10:30 PM: According to the Virginia State Police, here are the three arrests made at today's rally - in addition to the man being held on the charge of second-degree murder:

  • Troy Dunigan, 21, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.
  • Jacob L. Smith, 21, of Louisa, Virginia, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault & battery.
  • James M. O’Brien, 44, of Gainesville, Florida, was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed handgun.

WATCH: Part of Governor McAuliffe's statement to the press following today's events in Charlottesville (from the Washington Post):

Two veteran state troopers were killed when their helicopter crashed Saturday afternoon.  The officers were assisting with police activities around Charlottesville.

The pilot, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, Va., and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton, Va., died at the scene.

Lieutenant Cullen graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy in May 1994 as a member of the 90th Basic Session. He first joined the Virginia State Police Aviation Unit in 1999. Lieutenant Cullen is survived by his wife and two sons.

Trooper-Pilot Bates would have turned 41 years old Sunday, Aug. 13. He graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy in August 2004 as a member of the 107th Basic Session. He had just transferred to the Aviation Unit as a Trooper-Pilot in July. Trooper-Pilot Bates is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.

UPDATE, 9:20 PM: The driver of the vehicle that plowed into a crowd in Charlottesville today has been idetified as James Alex Fields Jr. of Maumee, Ohio.

UPDATE, 7:43 PM: The UVA Health System has released information about the 20 patients they've treated today:

5- critical
4-serious
6-fair
4-good
1-fatality

The fatality is reported to have been a 32 year old woman.

UPDATE, 4:30 PM: 34 total injuries - 1 death, 19 from crash, 15 from other incidents relating to rally.

UPDATE, 4:13 PM, AP: State official says driver of car that plowed into group of protesters in Charlottesville, Va., is in custody

UPDATE, 4:04 PM: University of Virginia Medical Center reports 1 person dead, 19 more injured after car plowed through crowd of pedestrians in downtown mall.

UPDATE, 2:50 PM: President Trump just spoke about the situation in Charlottesville from Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey.

UPDATE, 2:31 PM: Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer encourages people to leave after a car plows into a crowd in the downtown mall, says one person has died:

UPDATE, 2:50 PM: Multiple pedestrians hit by vehicle which seems to have deliberately plowed into crowd.

UPDATE, 2:05 PM: Another Tweet from President Trump:

UPDATE, 2:02 PM: CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - Vehicle plows into a group of counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally in Virginia; injuries unknown.

UPDATE, 1:50 PM: The crowd has now moved to McIntitre Park, where the city proposed the rally take place earlier this week.

White supremacist Richard Spencer is speaking:

Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer responds to President Trump's Tweet:

UPDATE, 1:21 PM: President Donald Trump has offered a brief initial statement on Twitter:

The Virginia State Police have declared Unlawful Assembly.

UPDATE, 12:50 PM: First Lady Melania Trump has Tweeted about the rally in Charlottesville. She is the first from the White House to do so.

Republican candidate for Governor Ed Gillespie's statement on the rally:

Democratic candidate for Governor Ralph Northam's statement on the rally:

UPDATED, 8/12 12:30 PM: Governor Terry McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency to aid state response to violence at Alt-Right rally in Charlottesville.

RICHMOND: Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement regarding the emergency declaration he authorized this morning:

“At 11:28 a.m., the Virginia State Police contacted me to request a state of emergency and I immediately authorized the declaration. We have maintained close contact with the Virginia State Police, the Virginia National Guard, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, and other state and local officials on the ground in Charlottesville, and I agree that the situation in Charlottesville warrants an emergency declaration by me, in order to aid City and County law enforcement in their efforts to restore public safety and order in the City of Charlottesville and the surrounding area.  In the days and weeks leading up to this event, my Administration engaged in extensive planning and preparation to ensure that the rally in Charlottesville could be held in a safe and lawful environment. These preparations included the deployment of a large number of state troopers, as well as the Virginia National Guard for support.

“It is now clear that public safety cannot be safeguarded without additional powers, and that the mostly out-of-state protesters have come to Virginia to endanger our citizens and property.  I am disgusted by the hatred, bigotry and violence these protesters have brought to our state over the past 24 hours. The actions I have taken are intended to assist local government and restore public safety.

“My entire team will continue to monitor this situation throughout the day, and take appropriate action as necessary.” 

UPDATED, 12:40: Change in UVA's operating schedule

Due to the ongoing public safety concerns in downtown Charlottesville and as a result of both the City of Charlottesville and the County of Albemarle declaring a local state of emergency, the University of Virginia is cancelling all scheduled events and programming today (Saturday) effective at noon.

This cancellation includes all academic programming, the scheduled community discussions taking place in the University Libraries, and all UVA Athletic events and programming. The University is monitoring the developments in Charlottesville and continues to coordinate with state and local law enforcement.

UVA medical center remains open.

Governor Terry McAuliffe's Statement on 'Unite the Right' Rally:

On Saturday, August 12th, an alt-right rally is slated to take place in Charlottesville. Below is Governor Terry McAuliffe's full statement regarding the planned rally:

“This morning, I was briefed for the second time this week by public safety officials in my cabinet, the Virginia State Police, the National Guard, and the Department of Emergency Management on their preparations for tomorrow’s rally in Charlottesville. I have directed them to coordinate with federal and local authorities and take every precaution necessary to ensure the safety of their personnel, the Charlottesville community and rally attendees. Virginia State Police is leading the Commonwealth’s planning and response for these events and will be on the scene in a support capacity before, during and after the planned rally. At my direction, personnel from the Virginia National Guard are also standing by to respond if needed.                   

“Virginia is the birthplace of the rights to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly that make our country great. I expect that most of the individuals who participate in tomorrow’s events will honor that proud legacy by expressing their views safely and respectfully. However, in advance of tomorrow’s rally there have been communications from extremist groups, many of which are located outside of Virginia, who may seek to commit acts of violence against rally participants or law enforcement officials. In the event that such violent or unlawful conduct occurs, I have instructed state public safety officials to act quickly and decisively in order to keep the public and themselves safe.

“Finally, as we prepare for tomorrow’s events, I want to urge my fellow Virginians who may consider joining either in support or opposition to the planned rally to make alternative plans. Many of the individuals coming to Charlottesville tomorrow are doing so in order to express viewpoints many people, including me, find abhorrent. As long as that expression is peaceful, that is their right. But it is also the right of every American to deny those ideas more attention than they deserve. Men and women from state and local agencies will be in Charlottesville tomorrow to keep the public safe, and their job will be made easier if Virginians, no matter how well-meaning, elect to stay away from the areas where this rally will take place.”