Dozens of Hate Crime Charges for Suspect in Charlottesville Car Attack

James Alex Fields hit with federal charges
By Janet Cromley,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2018 3:03 PM CDT
This undated file photo of James Alex Fields Jr. is provided by the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. Fields is accused of plowing a car into a crowd of people protesting a white nationalist rally...   (Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail via AP, File)
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(Newser) – James Alex Fields Jr., who allegedly drove into a crowd of people protesting a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 12, has been indicted on 30 hate crime charges by a federal grand jury, including a hate crime resulting in the death of Heather Heyer. According to court records, Fields traveled to Charlottesville to participate in a "Unite the Right" rally, which was advertised on social media as a gathering of white supremacists and other sympathizers protesting the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from a Charlottesville park, reports USA Today. Fields, 21, of Maumee, Ohio, is accused of driving his car from the top of a hill down a narrow, one-way street toward a group of counter-protesters that was chanting and carrying signs in support of equality and protesting racial and other forms of discrimination.

According to the Daily Progress, prosecutors say that when Fields got to the "racially and ethnically diverse" group, he backed his car up to the top of the hill and then hit the gas and drove down the hill directly into the crowd. He allegedly struck and killed 32-year-old Heyer and injured more than a dozen others before fleeing the scene. Fields is also facing 10 state charges that include first-degree murder and malicious wounding. He is slated to go on trial in November in Charlottesville. In announcing the charges, which carry a possible sentence of life in prison, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, “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,” per the New York Times. (Read more James Alex Fields Jr. stories.)

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