Crisis leads to death in Charlottesville

Brooke Smith, Senior Staff Writer

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Another American tragedy struck in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017 with intentions of protesting against the removal of the General Robert E. Lee in Emanoiparrion Park leading to violence.
This event was described by CNN as one of the largest white supremacist events in U.S. history and was organized by former journalist and member of Proud Boys, (a pro-Trump organization), Jason Kessler.
Thousands of white supremacists, many of them armed, joined Kessler’s “Unite the Right” rally. Several of the protesters participate in other racial terrorism groups and parades such as Neo Nazis, white supremacist biker gangs, the Ku Klux Klan, and The National Socialist Movement.
Kessler got a city permit for his “Unite the Right” rally. The night before the initial rally, marchers arrived at the University of Virginia carrying torches and reportedly yelling slogans such as “white lives matter” and “blood and soil.” The marchers then continued to the campus’ St. Paul Memorial Church where they violently clashed with a small group of students who were protesting.
The violence began to accelerate as a speeding car ran into the counter-protesters, injuring 19 and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
The white supremacists driver of the car left the scene at approximately 1:40 p.m. but was stopped by police shortly after. James Alex Fields, Jr. from Ohio was charged with hit-and-run.
Police made three other arrests at the event with charges ranging from disorderly conduct and misdemeanor assault to carrying a concealed weapon.
A police helicopter also crashed while en route to the rally, killing two state-troopers. Lieutenant Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berek M. M. Bates died on impact. Reasons are still unclear for why the helicopter fell from the sky.
Governor Terry McAuliffe of Charlottesville declared a state of emergency in Charlottesville during the rally. McAuliffe also urged all members of the community to stay home that evening to ensure safety.
The rally in this university town has alarmed the entire nation. President Donald Trump continues to comment that both sides were in the wrong to turn to violence. Trump commented on Fields, saying, “You can call it terrorism, you can call it murder. You can call it whatever you want. The driver of the car is a murderer and what he did was a horrible, horrible, inexcusable thing.”
Many people in the community have also spoken out about the incident and the president’s comments towards Charlottesville.
Susan Bro, mother of victim Hayes, commented on Trump’s blame on both the white supremacists and the counter-protesters. Bro stated, “I’m sorry. After what he said about my child, and it’s not that I saw somebody else’s tweets about him. I saw an actual clip of him at a press conference equating the protesters like Heyer with the KKK and the white supremacists.”
The rally in Charlottesville has left the nation in shock. The community is still trying to recuperate after the incident. Currently, Fields and Downer still await trial and fundraisers have been raised for the family of Hayes.

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