Monday, Jul 16, 2018
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More charges for Toledo man accused of ramming Charlottesville crowd

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    People fly into the air as a vehicle drives into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va. South Toledo man James Alex Fields, Jr., was charged with five additional felonies today for allegedly hitting protester Heather Heyer with the car, killing her.


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    James Alex Fields Jr.


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    Lily Holtz, 9, of Ashburn, Va, places flowers, as her brother Alexander, 7, and mother, Gracia, look on while they visit the site where Heather Heyer was killed in Charlottesville, Va.


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    People march in the streets of Durham protesting against a possible march by the Ku Klux Klan, Friday, Aug. 18.


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    A notes and flowers form a memorial in Charlottesville, Va., on Friday, Aug. 18.


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — James A. Fields, Jr., has been charged with five additional felony counts related to last weekend’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, where he allegedly rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, according to police.

Fields, a resident of Toledo, is accused of killing one person and wounding 19 others. He already had been charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, and failure to stop in an accident that resulted in death. The five additional charges include two more counts of malicious wounding and three counts of aggravated malicious wounding, police said.

RELATED: Mother of man accused of driving into crowd shocked ■ Teacher: Charlottesville driver Fields showed extremist ideologies in high school ■ Crowd gathers at Love Wall in response to Charlottesville violence

The Aug. 12 incident took place as hundreds of white nationalists and other right-wing groups converged on Charlottesville to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Fields, 20, was among white nationalist protesters clashing with counterprotesters. He is suspected of driving his Dodge Challenger into counterprotesters as police dispersed the crowds.

Heather Heyer, 32, a paralegal from Charlottesville, was killed in the attack.

Exclusive photographs obtained by CNN appear to show Fields marching alongside neo-Nazis and other white supremacists at the rally. He was a man who possessed “outlandish, very radical beliefs” and a “fondness” for Adolf Hitler, said Derek Weimer, who teaches social studies at Randall K. Cooper High School in Union, Ky.

Fields’ mother, Samantha Bloom, told The Blade that she didn’t know her son was going to Virginia for a white nationalist rally.

She told The Blade she didn’t discuss politics with her son. She was surprised her son attended an event with white supremacists.

Fields appeared in court on Monday, where he was informed of the previous charges against him. No bond was set and he remains in custody.

On Friday, the mother of Ms. Heyer said that she won’t talk to President Trump because of comments he made after her daughter’s death.

Speaking on ABC’s Good Morning America , Susan Bro said she initially missed the first few calls to her from the White House.

But she said “now I will not” talk to the President after a news conference in which Mr. Trump equated violence by white supremacists at the rally with violence by those protesting the rally.

In the hours after the rally, Mr. Trump drew criticism when he addressed the violence in broad strokes, saying he condemned “in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”

Pressured by advisers, the President softened his words on the dispute Monday.

But on Tuesday he insisted during a news conference at Trump Tower that “both sides” were to blame.

“You can’t wash this one away by shaking my hand and saying ‘I’m sorry,’” Ms. Bro said of the President.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Charlottesville called for an emergency meeting of state lawmakers to confirm the city’s right to remove the statue of General Lee, a request that was swiftly rejected by the state’s governor.

Mayor Mike Signer said recent clashes over race and the Confederacy had turned “equestrian statues into lightning rods” and urged Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe to convene a special session of the General Assembly.

“We can, and we must, respond by denying the Nazis and the KKK and the so-called alt-right the twisted totem they seek,” Mr. Signer said.

Charlottesville’s plans to remove the statue are in the midst of a legal challenge.

A law passed in 1998 forbids local governments from removing or damaging war monuments, but there remains legal ambiguity about whether that applies to statues erected before the law was passed.

McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy said the governor won’t call a special session while the issue is being decided in court.

Mr. McAuliffe did sign an executive order Friday afternoon temporarily banning any public demonstrations at a monument in Richmond.

Unlike the Charlottesville statue that sits in a city park, the Richmond monument to General Lee is in the middle of a traffic circle on Monument Avenue, an iconic boulevard with heavy traffic.

Mr. McAuliffe was among those attending a funeral Friday for a state police trooper who died in the fatal crash of a helicopter that had been monitoring the protest.

Trooper Berke Bates was remembered as a devoted family man and proud law-enforcement officer at St. Paul’s Baptist Church in Richmond on Friday.

A funeral for the helicopter’s pilot, Lt. Jay Cullen, is scheduled for Saturday.

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