The neo-Nazi who drove his car into a crowd of protesters during the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia during the summer of 2017 was indicted on Wednesday on 29 counts of federal hate crimes.
James Alex Fields Jr., 21, drove his car into the crowd, killing a liberal counterprotester, 32-year-old Heather Heyer. While there are 29 different hate crime charges against Fields, he is also facing state charges for first-degree murder.
The rally took place in August 2017 organized by white supremacist leaders in retaliation to a decision in Charlottesville to replace a statue of Robert E. Lee in a downtown park. According to the protesters at the time, they were “protecting their white heritage and rights.” Violence soon broke out as counterprotesters emerged and the rally was later “shut down” by police. But, hours later, the indictment states Fields approached the crowd while driving his 2010 Dodge Challenger and…
“with no vehicle behind him, Fields slowly reversed his vehicle to the top of the hill near the intersection of Fourth and Market streets. Fields then rapidly accelerated, ran through a stop sign and across a raised pedestrian mall, and drove directly into the crowd, striking numerous individuals, killing Heyer and injuring many others.”
The charges against Fields account for the death of Heyer and the dozens of people injured in the crash.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement:
“At the Department of Justice, we remain resolute that hateful ideologies will not have the last word and that their adherents will not get away with violent crimes against those they target. Last summer’s violence in Charlottesville cut short a promising young life and shocked the nation. 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.”
According to The Washington Post, Fields is being charged not only on federal hate crime charges but is also being prosecuted in the city of Charlottesville. Officials say that this trial is expected to begin Nov. 26 in Charlottesville Circuit Court. If convicted on all charges, Fields could face up to four life sentences plus 110 years in prison.