United States neo-Nazi sympathizer charged with hate crimes for Charlottesville rampage

30 Juin, 2018, 20:49 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Charlottesville car driver charged

Fields was arrested shortly after the violent clashes that shocked the country, and has already been charged with murder by the state of Virginia.

James Alex Fields, 21, was indicted by a federal grand jury in the Western District of Virginia on 30 civil rights charges, including two in connection with the death of counter-protester Heather Heyer, who was killed during the August 12 Unite The Right rally in downtown Charlottesville.

In a statement, Charlottesville commonwealth attorney Joseph Platania said his office "has been continuously updated on the status of this federal investigation", and said it "has no effect on the state charges now pending against Mr. Fields".

But in bringing the prosecution, Sessions appeared to assert himself as independent from President Donald Trump - who blamed the violence on both sides and was accused of emboldening racists - and suggested that the Justice Department would continue to treat racially motivated acts of violence as hate crimes.

And as Fields prepared to leave his home in Maumee, Ohio, to drive to the Unite the Right rally some 550 miles away, prosecutors say he sent an ominous message to a relative. Prosecutor Joseph Platania said in a statement that the federal indictment would have no effect on the pending state case.

A 32-year-old woman was killed and 19 others were injured when Fields, described by a former teacher as having a keen interest in Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler, allegedly drove a vehicle into the crowd of counter-protesters and fled the scene.

Fields replied, "We're not the ones who need to be careful", and attached an image of Hitler, according to the indictment, which also says Fields used social media to promote racist views, including support for the Holocaust.

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He "rapidly accelerated, through a stop sign and across a raised pedestrian mall, and drove directly into the crowd", it said.

One of the charges against Fields makes him eligible to be executed.

"That remains to be seen - they will proceed on separate but parallel tracks", Cullen said. Another charge accuses him of "racially motivated violent interference" with a federally protected activity.

"It is a less-common charge", said John Gore, acting assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice's civil rights decision.

Hours before the attack, Fields was photographed with a shield bearing the emblem of Vanguard America, one of the hate groups that took part in the rally.

Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, told news outlets, including Roanoke television station WDBJ7, that she had not read the full indictment yet and was not sure yet how she felt about it.

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