The Charlottesville white supremacist accused of driving through a crowd and killing one woman was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday and charged with 28 counts of hate crime acts.
James Alex Fields Jr., 21, was indicted on 30 charges, including a hate crime act that resulted in the death of Heather Heyer, a counterprotester who died marching at the 2017 "Unite the Right" white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Heyer was the only person killed when a Dodge Charger, allegedly driven by Fields Jr., drove into a group of counterprotesters. Over 30 other people were injured during the attack.
The charges against Fields include 28 counts of hate crime acts causing bodily injury and involving an attempt to kill and one count of racially motivated violent interference with a federally protected activity, according to the indictment.
"As this case indicates, our office will aggressively prosecute hate crimes and other civil-rights offenses committed because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin of any individual or group,” U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen said in a statement.
The indictment says Fields "expressed and promoted his belief that white people are superior to other races and peoples; expressed support of the social and racial policies of Adolf Hitler and Nazi-era Germany, including the Holocaust; and espoused violence against African Americans, Jewish people and members of other racial; ethnic and religious groups he perceived to be non-white."
According to prosecutors, Fields texted a family member, "We're not the ones who need to be careful," and attached an image of Adolf Hitler when they texted him to “be careful” at the rally.
While at the rally, Fields "engaged in chants promoting or expressing white supremacist and other racist and anti-Semitic views,” said prosecutors.
When Fields first drove his vehicle toward the multi-ethnic crowd of counter protestors, he sped down the hill, hit the crowd, stopped for a moment, and then reversed his Dodge Charger back to the top of the hill.
“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," FBI Special Agent Adam Lee said in a statement. "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."
(Photo: Charlottesville Police Department)