The events in Charlottesville this weekend have shocked the nation, and will likely go down in history as one of the key events that will define the first year of the Trump administration.
From hate-filled night-time rallies at the University of Virginia to three deaths, here are eight points to know about this weekend’s’ events.
An Unlawful Assembly
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency “to aid state response to violence” ahead of a “Unite the Right” rally expected in Charlottesville Saturday, the home of the University of Virginia.
The rally was meant to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The city of Charlottesville voted to remove the statue earlier this year.
The rally was planned for noon, but the city of Charlottesville declared it an unlawful assembly before it could officially begin. Also, torch-bearing protesters scuffled with opposition demonstrators Friday night on the grounds of the University of Virginia.
The Car Incident
A was man accused of plowing a car into a crowd of protesters — killing one person and leaving 19 injured.
The driver, James Alex Fields Jr., 20, traveled to Virginia from Ohio for the “Unite the Right” rally. He was arrested shortly after the incident and charged with one count of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, and another count related to the hit-and-run, police said. He is being held without bail and is scheduled for arraignment Monday.
The FBI said that they have opened a civil rights investigation.
Police identified the woman killed by the car as Heather D. Heyer, 32, a Charlottesville resident.
An additional five people people were in critical condition and 14 more injured from the crash, according the University of Virginia Hospital.
Fields Was A Racist
According to Fields’ history teacher, the young man had championed white supremacist ideals since high school. “It was obvious that he had this fascination with Nazism and a big idolatry of Adolf Hitler,” Derek Weimer told the Washington Post. “He had white supremacist views. He really believed in that stuff.”
Was It Domestic Terrorism?
Many have called Fields’ action domestic terrorism and want the case to be treated as such.
Brian Moran, Virginia secretary of public safety, said this of Fields: “He was a terrorist to do what he did.”
But it is not clear what the justice department will decide to do with the case just yet: “The violence and deaths in Charlottesville strike at the heart of American law and justice,” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “When such actions arise from racial bigotry and hatred, they betray our core values and cannot be tolerated.
Two state police officers, Berke M.M. Bates and H. Jay Cullen also died Saturday when their helicopter crashed outside the University town.
A Unpresidential President
President Trump’s silence early on Saturday, and then his eventual statements have left many unsatisfied with him and the White House. His refusal to immediately condemn the white supremacists who showed up in Charlottesville will likely haunt him for the rest of the upcoming week.
“The hate and the division must stop and must stop right now,” Trump said, without specifically mentioning white supremacists. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides.”
Trump Supporters Speak Out
Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, a Trump supporter who was in Charlottesville on Saturday, made sure to remind the president who had put him in office.
“I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists,” he wrote in response to the president’s tweet.