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UPDATE: Chaos in Charlottesville: 1 dies during riots, 2 state troopers die in helicopter crash



At least three people are dead after chaos engulfed Charlottesville Friday night and Saturday.

More than 1,000 white nationalists and members of far-right groups descended on Charlottesville Friday and Saturday to show support for Confederate monuments, Southern heritage and so-called white power. Counter-protests ensued, and videos on social media showed peak tensions and bloody clashes between the opposing parties.

Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer confirmed early Saturday afternoon at least one person, a 32-year-old woman, died after a car sped through and crashed into a crowd. An additional five people who were involved in the collision are in critical condition. The deceased has been identified as Heather D. Heyer, 32, of Charlottesville.

The driver of the car, Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Maumee, Ohio, is in custody.

Hours later, two Virginia State Police troopers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, of Quinton, died in a helicopter crash while responding to riots in Charlottesville shortly before 5 p.m.

"Our state police and law enforcement family at-large are mourning this tragic outcome to an already challenging day,” said Col. W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police superintendent. “Lieutenant Cullen was a highly-respected professional aviator and Trooper-Pilot Bates was a welcome addition to the Aviation Unit, after a distinguished assignment as a special agent with our Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Their deaths are a tremendous loss to our agency and the commonwealth.”

The cause of the helicopter crash is under investigation. Foul play is not suspected.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) declared a state of emergency around 11:30 a.m. At a press conference around 6:30 p.m., McAuliffe said he has a message for "all the white supremacists and Nazis who came into Charlottesville today."

"Our message is plain and simple: Go home," the governor said. "You are not wanted in this great commonwealth. Shame on you. You pretend that you are patriots, but are anything but a patriot ... you came here today to hurt people, and you did hurt people. But my message is clear: We are stronger than you ... There is no place for you here. There is no place for you in America."

A declaration of unlawful assembly was declared shortly after the state of emergency, and Virginia State Police started making arrests, which reports estimate into the dozens.

The Southern Poverty Law Center said the event could be “the largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades in the United States.”



First lady of the U.S. Melania Trump was the first from the Trump White House to weigh in on the situation. "Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let's communicate w/o hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence. #Charlottesville," Mrs. Trump tweeted.

At a press conference in New Jersey shortly after the first lady's tweet, President Trump denounced the violence.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides," Trump said. "It has been going on for a long time in our country -- not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America."

The president's critics and several Republican officials were quick to underscore and admonish the fact Trump did not specifically rebuke the white nationalist elements of the Charlottesville.

“The violence, chaos, and apparent loss of life in Charlottesville is not the fault of 'many sides.' It is racists and white supremacists,” Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) tweeted.

Chilling videos from Friday night show the white nationalists marching through the city with torches and shouting "White lives matter!" "You will not replace us!" and "Jews will not replace us!" The scene, for many, recalled videos and photos of Ku Klux Klan rallies and cross-burnings.

Charlottesville -- coincidentally home to Trump Winery -- has become a key battleground for white nationalists and the alt-right following the city council's vote to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park, formerly called Lee Park. The monument has not yet been removed.

The debate surrounding Confederate monuments placed in highly public locations has heightened in recent years. Loudoun County has claimed a spot in the debate – a monument honoring Confederate soldiers stands at the center at the Loudoun County Courthouse grounds in downtown Leesburg, the county seat.

Dylan Hyatt, a Briar Woods High School graduate and doctoral student at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, said Saturday he's disgusted with what he's seen from Charlottesville. Hyatt was in Leesburg and plans to return to Charlottesville tomorrow.

“I am a little bit nervous. I'm hoping that most of the white nationalist/neo-Nazi/alt-right people will have left by the time I head back into town tomorrow, but I just know it's going to feel strange coming back into the aftermath of everything that's happened today,” Hyatt told the Times-Mirror. “I will definitely be avoiding the area of the downtown mall until at least Monday or Tuesday.”

Hyatt said he has been exchanging texts with friends in Charlottesville, many of whom have decided to leave town.

“I have minority friends who were afraid to step outside last night to go home … The fact that friends of mine are afraid to go out in their hometown is absolutely sickening,” he said. “I'm attempting to study, but I just absolutely can't focus. My reaction is a weird mix of dread, sickness, disgust and anger. It's bizarre.”

Saturday's rally follows several smaller protests over Confederate statues earlier in the summer.

Hyatt, who graduated from U-Va. as an undergrad, said at first he found it odd that the alt-right has made Charlottesville essentially ground zero for their messaging.

“But the more I think about it, the more it makes sense,” Hyatt said. “It's a town built around a university that was itself built on slavery, in a sense – [Thomas] Jefferson owned slaves, slaves helped build university buildings and students in the early days of UVA brought their slaves to live with them. That history is there.

"But at the same time, it's a liberal town," Hyatt continued, "there is a progressive movement, and most of the town is left-leaning and forward-thinking in a lot of ways. So when something as backwards as the white-nationalist movement comes to Charlottesville, there's a lot of backlash.”




Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or on Twitter at @TrevorBaratko.

Comments


Hey Dumpy,
Do you mean the same FDR that interned Japanese Americans during WWII?


Yo Chocolate, it’s times like these that expose those with Double Standards, you being one of them.


workhardgetahead: I wish I could “like” your comment. The media is spinning this country into a frenzy and they love it.


you people blasting Trump are full of yourselves. You are so brainwashed by the media it’s pathetic. The same alt left groups that were there on Saturday were the same types that caused trouble in Berkeley a few months back. What do you get when you add fire to fuel? Both groups, Left and Right are deplorable. Trump never defended the Neo Nazis and Skinheads. This is a phony, fake story. It’s unbelievable, it disgusting what is going on in this country with the media’s Witch hunt of Trump.


Watching Trump read his “condemnation” of Nazis with the gusto of a hostage video, I couldn’t help but wonder if the ghost of FDR ever visits the White House.  Can you imagine what that great New York president would tell this current sad excuse for a leader?


@Jeanne T- I watched HBO special other day where a Journalist followed around the leader of the attack last weekend & at one point a guy was talking to police on phone asking them to stand down or 200 of them would march w/ guns into the city. I’m not sure if that is linked but I’m pretty sure that is why they did that. Such a sad situation! I was disgusted by ALL of their remarks & being proud of being that way. Who raised these people? They claimed that they won & were NOT upset the girl was killed etc…. I was fuming watching this.


Violent resistance of tyranny or injustice never solved any problems, said no well read student of history ever.

I gotta admit- I thought nazis and white nationalist types were tough customers. They’re well armed and they dress like soldiers yet teenagers held them at bay?

Nothing but respect for the UVA students who stood up to Richard Spencer minions on Friday night.


Dinosaur, while I enjoy many of your (obviously satirical) posts, you couldn’t be more wrong.  Who on here has even hinted they are bigots?  Since a bigot can be defined as “someone who is intolerant of others’ opinions”, I think the only true bigots on this forum are the Leftists.

Let’s be clear.  Nobody on here supports the bigots marching in Charlottesville for some group’s “supremacy”.  Yes, those were bigots too but just like the Leftists, they are entitled to their opinion just as long as those policies are not forced on the rest of us.  Just like I will help Leftists avoid censorship, we all should respect everyone’s right to say what they want.  That is the true definition of “liberal” (little “L”) that only became twisted in the 1960’s/1970’s.

You see, none of the Leftists on here can point to a single commenter and/or a single comment from the right on these boards where the comment opposed someone’s right to say what they believed or wanted to suppress any particular group.  Not a one.  But in true 1984 fashion, they merely redefine words to mean what they want and claim the conservative/libertarian comments are “bigots” or “racists”.  Maybe the Leftists aren’t intelligent enough to understand the difference. But more likely, they merely aggravate perceived slights for political utility.  They claim that Trump uses coded language to stir up dark forces but it’s quite clear the Liberal (big “L”) politicians create far more insidious movements purely for their personal and political advantage.  Disgusting.


it’s times like these that expose who people really are.  disappointing but not surprising to see so many trump supporters happy to have an excuse to be hateful bigots.  i hope that your children are better people than you (they will be). 


Trump’s first comments were correct as “all sides” need to stop this kind of nonsense.
The idiot white supremacists were marching and it was the idiots who claim to be liberals/peace advocates were the ones who started throwing bags/bottles of urine at them and then they got physical and the whole situation escalated, culminating with the nutjob running people over. What should have happened was people should have just laughed at those fools and then ignored them. When are people going to realize extremists of any kind- democrat, republican, etc. are wrong- those are the ones who scare me because they do not think logically and only engage in “Identity Politics”. All of the groups are wrong- Antifa, BLM, KKK, etc. all of those groups do not represent the majority of people in any of the political parties. Sometimes idiots are just idiots and we don’t need to search who they voted for to place blame- the blame is on the individual. What’s the percentage of people that actually vote in this country? 30%? I don’t know for sure but I bet it’s nowhere near 50% and I bet these nuts that cause all the trouble don’t vote either.


Obama fanned the flames of Black Lives Matter for 8 years. Turnabout is fair play.


Invalid line of reasoning? Says you? Your opinion.
Answer the questions I asked and then we can determine if my reasoning is invalid. I believe you have a double standard. You’re ok with violence when it fits your narrative. Come out and condemn both sides and then you have credibility.


Moving Finger - washington post has an article about the antifada in it today….is that a good enough news source for you? Nazi’s burned books in WWII, now they are removing historical statues…now to be called a racist, 1, 2, 3…


Who told the police to stand down, and why?


Group one violently opposes being treated as lesser and group two violently opposes having to see people other than themselves as equal.  Obviously the first group is wrong and should just accept their fate.  Did I get that right?


*faith groups link arms, sing “this little light of mine” while white supremacists chant nazi slogans, terrorize locals
*threatening college students with torches at unsanctioned friday night march; on saturday bringing shields, mace, jars of urine, broken pool cues, long guns, vile taunts, and signs of hate is about history?
*false equivalencies - counter protestors did not ram a car into a crowd & murder a young woman in cold blood
*many white supremacist rallies across country are not about statues


NotaPajamaBoy: You keep saying the same thing again and again: “What about…”  I’ve already shown that’s an invalid line of reasoning. Familiarize yourself with the term “tu quoque”.


Obama said: ” “Nothing justifies violence against law enforcement. Attacks against police are attacks against all of us and the rule of law.”  - July 16, 2016.

Can you poke your head out of your bubble long enough to supply us the quote where he or the others you mentioned ever incited violence.  We’ll wait. 


All of you people coming out and condemning this are correct in doing so but where were your voices and opinions when Obama, Holder, Lynch, Clinton and many others were emboldening attacks on the police? Where were you? Where were you when BLM were marching with the cadence “Pigs in a Blanket Fry Like bacon” or ” What Do We Want, Dead Cops, When do we want them, now”. Where were you? You don’t have any credibility. So just be quiet and go on with your lives.


Let’s be fair to the Trump supporters…I’m sure many of us remember reading those stories of Eisenhower viewing the concentration camps at the end of WWII and how he lamented the hatred on both sides…


I see several of the derp state Trump supporters are using the term antifa ... had to look it up…where do you folks get your news such that you think everyone knows what these “inside the bubble” terms mean.    So many of these terms that must make perfect sense if you’re in the thought-free bubble zone:  pajama boy, snowflake, etc.


Trump never misses a moment to divide America…assuming, I guess that behaving that way pushes some % of people his way.  He is a sorry excuse for a leader and I don’t care how hard the “heritage not hate” crowd tries to have it otherwise…


These Skinhead types are deplorable. But I saw a lot of people being deplorable. Antifa (Far Left) was well represented at this event and they caused as much trouble, if not more, than their opposition, but nobody is condemning them or even mentioning them. The media is a joke in this country!!! Antifa got a pass.


“An American citizen died yesterday standing up to Nazis”  -Van Jones Trump needs someone to give him a history lesson on WWII.


So, now can we please take down the symbol of hate on our courthouse lawn?


Loudoun4Trump If by “fast” you mean slower than the speed of smell then yes. And I missed the condemnation of racism. Perhaps you can remind me of how he said that bit?


It’s almost funny when the media is saying all of the problems and acts of violence were conducted by the white nationalist movement when there was a picture of an African American man spraying fire from an aerosol can. I hardly believe that guy was a white nationalist.


Glad Trump came out quickly to condemn this ignorant, racist behavior.  Trump is a true leader…


Maybe Idaho, but where was your outrage when Obama and Eric Holder were emboldening some to attack police? Where was your outrage when the Leftist from Iowa attacked and shot Steve Scalise?


NotaPajamaBoy commits the “Yeah, but what about…” logical fallacy.


What does the following paragraph have to do with today’s violence?

“Trump Winery, which is managed by the president’s son, Eric, is located in Charlottesville, about 10 miles from where the bedlam erupted”

Let’s go have a riot and then go to a wine tasting!! Give me a break LTM


Yeah Duncan, just like Obama emboldened the attacks on Police and Republican Congressmen.


“It is now clear that public safety cannot be safeguarded without additional powers, and that the mostly out-of-state protesters have come to Virginia to endanger our citizens and property,”

Ah, “additional powers”.  Such as what, Governor? Based on what?

“mostly out-of-state protesters” - Like the ANTIFA and Black Lives Matters protests?

@Equity:  Why are you assuming this was intentional, when it has not been reported as such? You’re jumping to conclusions. Why?

The driver had Ohio license plates. He has been arrested.


tragedy caused by domestic terrorism - hate-filled driver intentionally plows into peaceful counter-protestors & kills someone!  virginia or out-of-state license?


Trump normalizes and emboldens this type of activity.


Majority of the problems are coming from Antifa, the left wing organization.

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