Sunday, January 29, 2023

Woman recalls total ‘terror’ of Charlottesville car attack

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A woman was driven out of the way as a car at a 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville collided with protestors, describing a scene of “absolute terror” as she testified on Monday. It was given that his fiance was bleeding. A friend died after learning on the sidewalk and later.

Marissa Blair takes stand in third week of civil trial of trial Who wants to hold the white national organizers of the “Unite the Right” rally responsible for the violence that broke out. Nine people who were physically or emotionally injured, including Blair, accused rally organizers of plotting to commit violence during two days of demonstrations in Charlottesville.

“I was confused. I was scared. I was worried about everyone present. It was a complete terror scene. There was blood everywhere. I was terrified,” Blair said several times during her testimony. Said shedding.

The driver of the car, James Alex Fields Jr., a self-proclaimed admirer of Adolf Hitler from Maumee, Ohio, is serving life jailed for murder And hate crimes. One woman was killed and dozens were injured in a car attack.

The lawsuit seeks monetary damages from two dozen white supremacists, neo-Nazis and organizations that the plaintiffs have accused of participating in a conspiracy to incite violence.

On August 11 and 12, 2017, hundreds of white nationalists descended on Charlottesville, apparently to protest the city’s plan to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Clashes broke out between white nationalists and anti-racism protesters both days, prompting officials to declare the gathering an “illegal gathering” on August 12 and order the crowd to disperse. It was after that announcement that Fields rammed his car into a peaceful group of protestors.

The violence shook the nation, and sparked a political fire after then-President Donald Trump failed to strongly condemn white nationalists, saying “there were very good people on both sides”.

The lawsuit is being funded by Integrity First for America, a non-profit organization formed in response to the violence in Charlottesville. Some of the country’s most famous white nationalists have been named as defendants, including: Richard Spencer, who coined the term “alt-right” to describe a loosely associated band of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and others; Jason Kessler, the main organizer of the rally; and Christopher Cantwell, a white supremacist who became known as a “crying Nazi” for posting a tearful video that warrants his arrest when charged with assault for using pepper spray on counter-protesters. was issued.

The plaintiffs include four people who were injured in a car attack and others who were victims of violence during a torch rally at the University of Virginia on August 11 or during demonstrations the next day.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys show the jury a large collection of chat room exchanges, social media postings and other communications in which defendants use racial adjectives and discuss plans for demonstrations, including to bring weapons.

They are also relying on a 150-year-old law passed after the Civil War to free slaves from violence and protect their civil rights. Commonly referred to as the Ku Klux Klan Act, is a rarely used provision in law that allows private citizens to sue other citizens for civil rights violations.

The defendants claim that their language in many of their chat room exchanges was exaggerated and is protected by the First Amendment. He also says that his talk of weapons and war was only meant when he had to defend himself from counterintelligence.

Blair said that as the car was moving towards the crowd, his fiancé drove him out of the way, causing minor bodily injuries. But she suffers from flashbacks, panic attacks and depression from witnessing the attack and grief over the death of her friend Heather Heyer, 32.

“My emotional scars were worse than my physical scars,” Blair said.

Blair and her fiancé, Marcus Martin, who was seriously injured in a collision with Fields’ car, married nine months after the attack. But Blair said the physical and psychological effects of the incident took a toll on their relationship and they are now divorced.


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