August 13, 2017 12:20 am -

This is James Alex Fields. If that “fashy” Hitler haircut and dead-eyed visage weren’t the complete tell that he is an ignorant, angry, bigoted, virulent racist, his alleged homicidal vehicular attack on anti-racist demonstrators will suffice.

One person was killed and 19 were hurt when a speeding car slammed into a throng of counterprotesters in Charlottesville, where a “Unite the Right” rally of white nationalist and other right-wing groups had been scheduled take place, the city tweeted on its verified account.

A 32-year-old woman was killed while walking across the street, Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas said. Police were still in the process of notifying her family.

Two Virginia State Patrol troopers were killed in a helicopter crash while “assisting public safety resources with the ongoing situation in Charlottesville,” the agency said in a news release. The pilot, Lt. H. Jay Cullen, 48, and Trooper Berke M.M. Bates, who would have turned 41 on Sunday, died in the crash.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe had a pointed message for the right-wing groups that flocked to Charlottesville on Saturday: “Go home. … You are not wanted in this great commonwealth. Shame on you.”

In addition to the one death and 19 injuries in the car-ramming incident, the city said there were at least 15 other injuries associated with the scheduled rally.

The suspect being held in a Virginia jail in connection with a deadly crash near a scheduled rally of white nationalists has been identified as James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Maumee, Ohio, according to Superintendent Martin Kumer with the Albermarle-Charlottesville County Regional Jail. Fields is being held on suspicion of second-degree murder, malicious wounding and failure to stop in an accident that resulted in death.

The Hill‘s Taylor Lorenz was at the site of the incident:

Hundreds of counter-protestors marched down Water Street chanting “Whose streets? Our streets!”

As the crowd approached the corner of Water and Fourth Street, they were told that neighborhood residents did not want them to turn right to go further into the neighborhood.

“You guys, we spoke to community organizers,” one counter protester shouted. “We need to turn back. Walk up that street,” he shouted, gesturing to the wide alley to the crowd’s left.

Those marching listened, and turned left to go in the opposite direction.

The mood also seemed to shift, as some at the front of the line danced and others spoke of having driven “the racists out of town.”

Suddenly, screams and a repeated thumping sound could be heard.

A grey Dodge Challenger was driving through the crowd at an accelerated speed, and bodies were banging against its windshield.

People began screaming loudly for medical attention as at least four people were on the ground.

The car paused for a moment, before reversing in full speed and running into more people.

Bodies were strewn up and down the block, with groups clustered around each one seeking to help. Pools of blood formed under some of the most grievously wounded.

Many people who said they had medical training tried to help the injured. People tied swatches of fabric and bandanas around wounds to try to stem the bleeding.

The Toledo Blade managed to find Fields’s mother:

Samantha Bloom, Mr. Fields’ mother, told a Blade reporter her son texted her Friday to say he had dropped his cat off at her Monclova Township apartment so he could go to an “alt-right” rally in Virginia.

“I told him to be careful,” Ms. Bloom said. “[And] if they’re going to rally to make sure he’s doing it peacefully.”

It didn’t appear that happened, she said tearfully.

She had returned from dinner Saturday evening unaware that her son was involved and had not yet been contacted by authorities.

He had told her about the rally last week, but didn’t offer details about its extremist nature.

“I thought it had something to do with Trump,” she said.

[It did have everything to do with Trump. The entire neo-Nazi movement in America has everything to do with Trump. Richard Spencer admitted it.]

She said he had moved out of her apartment “five or six months ago” to his own Maumee apartment, but she declined to give the address. Ms. Bloom said they moved to northwest Ohio from Florence, Kentucky, about a year ago for her job.

Along the quiet street where Mr. Fields’ mother lives, neighbors living in the colorful one-story, conjoined units said they didn’t know much about the 20-year-old.

Bob Rose, 62, who lives two doors down from Ms. Bloom, said he never spoke to the man.

“It’s shocking to know it’s that close to you,” he said.

Mr. Rose said he had seen a vehicle matching the silver Dodge’s description at the house and “might have waved,” but not much more.

“I’ve never spoken with the gentleman, I don’t know anything about him,” he said. “You just never know. Until you get the whole story, you can assume what you want. Was he there to cause mayhem? Was he a white supremacist? I don’t know.”

If he does hold extremist views, Mr. Rose said, “I don’t want to know him.”

A photo believed to be from Fields’s now-deleted Facebook profile was circulated on Twitter:

And late Saturday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a federal civil rights investigation of the incident:

U.S. officials announced they have opened a civil rights investigation into the circumstances of the deadly car attack.

The investigation was announced late Saturday by officials of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia and the Richmond field office of the FBI.

In a statement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions says U.S. Attorney Rick Mountcastle has begun the investigation and will have the full support of the Justice Department.

One of our favorite activists did have some hope for good to come out of the Charlottesville maelstrom:

Daryle Lamont Jenkins, who is known for doxxing—or revealing the identities of—anonymous white supremacists, was hanging out by the First United Methodist Church in Charlottesville when he picked up the phone to take my call.

Jenkins sounded frustrated. “No one can pat themselves on the back after today,” he told me. The way Jenkins sees it, the city took too long to intervene. Officials let the alt-right do whatever they wanted until the protests got violent.

But, he’s still optimistic. “This is the beginning of the end of the alt-right, that’s for sure,” he said. Today’s violence will “wake liberals out of their idleness,” he said.

James Alex Fields is going to need a very good lawyer. If he is found guilty of anything even approaching terrorism, it is likely he will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.