The Department of Justice on Wednesday issued hate-crime charges against the 21-year-old man accused of killing a woman after he drove his car through a crowd standing against the hate-filled undertones of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville last summer.
Prosecutors announced 30 civil-rights charges against James Alex Fields Jr., including a hate-crime act resulting in the death of Heather Heyer. The 32-year-old paralegal was killed when a Dodge Challenger tore through a group of demonstrators near the downtown mall.
The attack, which left dozens more injured, marked a deadly end to a day already filled with violence amid tension between alt-right supremacists, neo-Nazis and counter-protesters.
“The events of Aug. 12, 2017, in Charlottesville are a grim reminder of why the FBI prioritizes its investigations of civil rights violations among the top of its criminal programs,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Adam S. Lee of the Richmond Division, who also oversees the office in Charlottesville.
“I hope today will also be a reminder to those who are motivated by hate and intent on committing violence; we are going to be there, just as we were in this case.”
A grand jury in Charlottesville late last year separately indicted Fields on 10 charges stemming from the violence at the rally, including first-degree murder.