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A car drove into a group of counter-protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia. Photo courtesy of Mercury News.

Summary: The man accused of plowing down protesters with his car in Charlottesville cannot afford an attorney, and the local public defender personally knew one of the incident’s victims.

On Monday, the suspect who allegedly drove his car into a sea of anti-Nazi protestors was arraigned in Charlottesville, Virginia. The suspect, James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio, did not have the funds to hire a private attorney, but NBC 12 said that the local public defender could not represent him because he was related to one of Fields’ alleged victims.

  
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On Saturday, hundreds of alt-right neo-Nazis gathered in Charlottesville with tiki torches to protest immigration and promote their white power. Counter-protestors arrived to fight the group, and Fields allegedly drove his car into them, wounding 19 and killing one woman, Heather Heyer, 32.

According to the BBC, Fields was denied bail today. He was arraigned for second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and one count of hit and run.

The judge said that Fields will receive a preliminary hearing on August 25. During the arraignment, Fields said he had no ties to Charlottesville and that he was employed by Securitas and Omni Ohio and could not afford a lawyer.

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Fields drove his car into counter protestors at the “Unite the Right” rally, which organized to protest the removal of a Confederate statue, and a video showed him participating in the march before he drove his vehicle into the crowd. According to NBC 12, Fields’ former teacher said the suspect had an obsession with Nazis when he was younger and that he had tried to join the military but was denied because of psychological problems.

Before the incident, Fields had no criminal record.



On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that Fields’ alleged act was an act of “domestic terrorism.”

“You can be sure we will charge and advance the investigation towards the most serious charges that can be brought because this is unequivocally an unacceptable evil attack,” Sessions said on ABC News’ Good Morning America.

At the Unite the Right rally, protesters shouted Nazi phrases and raised the Nazi salute, and this weekend, President Donald Trump did not specifically denounce the white supremacists but instead said, “The hate and the division must stop right now. We have to come together as Americans with love for our nation.”

Met with criticism from the both political parties, Trump gave another press conference on Monday where he specifically denounced racism and hate groups such as the KKK.

Racism is evil,” Trump said. “And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

What do you think of Fields? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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