CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — The man accused of ramming a car into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville was photographed that morning holding a shield with the emblem of a white supremacist group.
Vanguard America denies that James Alex Fields Jr. is a member of its group and says it handed out shields to anyone in attendance who wanted them. The Anti-Defamation League says Vanguard America believes the U.S. is an exclusively white nation and uses propaganda to recruit young white men online and on college campuses.
Fields was charged with second-degree murder and other counts.
Vanguard America confirmed via Twitter account that members were in Charlottesville on Saturday morning to rally against plans to remove a Confederate statue. Hundreds of others came to protest against racism.
In the photo, taken by the New York Daily News, Fields stands with a handful of men, all dressed similarly in the usual Vanguard America uniform of khakis and white polo shirts. The men hold white shields with a black-and-white logo of two axes. The Confederate statue of Robert E. Lee is in the background. The Daily News says the photo was taken about 10:30 a.m.
Charlottesville officials say a car driven by Fields crashed into a crowd, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer, at 1:42 p.m.
Federal law enforcement authorities have started a civil rights investigation into the deadly car crash.
The FBI said in a statement late Saturday that it is collecting facts and evidence in an ongoing investigation.
In an interview Sunday with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer called the deadly crash a…
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