Social Media Posts Lead to Charlottesville Hate Crime Charges

This undated file photo provided by the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail shows James Alex Fields Jr., accused of plowing a car into a crowd of people protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., killing a woman and injuring dozens more, has been charged with federal hate crimes.  (Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail via AP, File)

RICHMOND – A 27-year-old Ohio man has been charged with numerous hate crimes after a grand jury linked white supremacist language he used on social media to the vehicular murder of a Charlottesville woman during last summer’s Unite the Right rally.

James Alex Fields had been accused of driving his car into a group of counter protestors after state police broke up the white supremacist rally, infamously known as “Unite the Right,” which brought pro-Confederate and Neo-Nazi protestors together in the rural Virginia town.

Now, almost a year later, the Department of Justice is using the man’s “expressed support of the social and racial policies of Adolf Hitler and Nazi-era Germany, including the Holocaust” as grounds for federal charges.

“We remain resolute that hateful ideologies will not have the last word and that their adherents will not get away with violent crimes against those they target,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a statement announcing the charges. “Last summer’s violence in Charlottesville cut short a promising young life and shocked the nation. Today’s indictment should send a clear message to every would-be criminal in America that we aggressively prosecute violent crimes of hate that threaten the core principles of our nation.”

The indictment goes on to cite Field’s social media posts that “espoused violence against African Americans, Jewish people and members of other racial; ethnic and religious groups he perceived to be non-white” as further proof the hate crime charge was needed.

Fields faces 30 counts including one count of a hate crime act resulting in the death of Heather Heyer, 28 counts of hate crime acts causing bodily injury and one count of racially motivated violent interference with a federally protected activity.


This is a developing story.

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