US, Charlottesville - Man charged with murder after car rams anti-far-right protesters in Charlottesville



James Fields, from Ohio, arrested following attack at ‘Unite the Right’ gathering, and two police officers die in helicopter crash. 

A man has been arrested and charged with murder after a car rammed into a group of people peacefully protesting against a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing one person and injuring 19.
Police said a 32-year-old woman had died and that they were attempting to notify her family before releasing more details.
Col Martin Kumer, the superintendent of Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, told the Guardian that 20-year-old James Fields, of Ohio, had been arrested following the attack on Saturday.
“He has been charged with second degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and failing to stop at an accident that resulted in a death,” Kumer said in an email.
Donald Trump condemned the “violence on many sides”, but faced criticism for failing to directly denounce the far-right demonstrators.
In a separate incident, two police officers died when their helicopter, which was monitoring the far-right rally, crashed outside Charlottesville.
State police said in a statement the helicopter was “assisting public safety resources with the ongoing situation” when it crashed in a wooded area. The pilot, Lieutenant H Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, Virginia, and Trooper-pilot Berke Bates of Quinton, Virginia, died at the scene.
The deaths came at the end of a day marked by violent clashes between far-right nationalists and people who had come to protest against their occupation of a downtown park containing a statue of the Confederate general Robert E Lee.
Witnesses said those hit by the car were peacefully protesting the white supremacist rally and footage showed the vehicle crashing into another car, throwing people over the top of it.
The photographer Pat Jarrett, who witnessed the incident, said: “A gray Dodge Charger plowed into a sedan and then into a minivan. Bodies flew. People were terrified and screaming. Those closest to it said it was definitely a violent attack. The driver, who people later described as a skinny white guy with a straggly beard, reversed out of there and drove off, the front end of his car all smashed up.”
Charlottesville mayor Mike Signer tweeted: “I am heartbroken that a life has been lost here. I urge all people of good will – go home.”
Speaking at a press conference on Saturday evening, the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, who had earlier declared a state of emergency, told the white supremacists: “Go home … Shame on you. You pretend you are patriots, but you are anything but a patriot.”
The mother of James Fields, the man arrested for driving the car, told the Associated Press on Saturday night that she knew her son was attending a rally in Virginia but didn’t know it was a white supremacist rally.
“I thought it had something to do with Trump. Trump’s not a white supremacist,” Samantha Bloom said, before becoming visibly upset as she learned of the injuries and deaths at the rally “He had an African-American friend so ...,” she said before her voice trailed off.
Responding to the events in Charlottesville from Bedminster, New Jersey, the US president said: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”
But the Republican senator Marco Rubio tweeted that it was important for Trump to describe the events as a “terror attack by white supremacists”.
The FBI said it was opening a civil rights investigation into the accident along with the Justice Department’s civil rights division and the district attorney’s office.
The US attorney general, Jeff Sessions, said: “The violence and deaths in Charlottesville strike at the heart of American law and justice. When such actions arise from racial bigotry and hatred, they betray our core values and cannot be tolerated.
The car attack came about two hours after state police in riot gear had cleared Emancipation Park, the site of the Robert E Lee statue. The city’s decision in February to remove the statue drew earlier protests by the “alt-right” and the Ku Klux Klan.
Riot police cleared the park after almost an hour of clashes. The far-right groups were largely compliant, but had to run the gauntlet of counter-protesters as they walked west along Market Street.
After a brief stalemate, a hard core of about 100 far-right protesters moved to a park two miles away and gathered to hear speakers who had been scheduled for the “Unite the Right” event.
One of the speakers, the far-right figurehead Richard Spencer, said he had been maced on the way in and lashed out at police and city authorities.
The car attack came about two hours after state police in riot gear had cleared Emancipation Park, the site of the Robert E Lee statue. The city’s decision in February to remove the statue drew earlier protests by the “alt-right” and the Ku Klux Klan.
Riot police cleared the park after almost an hour of clashes. The far-right groups were largely compliant, but had to run the gauntlet of counter-protesters as they walked west along Market Street.
After a brief stalemate, a hard core of about 100 far-right protesters moved to a park two miles away and gathered to hear speakers who had been scheduled for the “Unite the Right” event.
One of the speakers, the far-right figurehead Richard Spencer, said he had been maced on the way in and lashed out at police and city authorities.
Rescue personnel help injured people after a car ran into a large group.
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