DOJ Opens Civil Rights Investigation Into Fatal Charlottesville Vehicle Rampage

Aug 13, 2017
Originally published on August 13, 2017 8:09 pm
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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

We return to our top story. To recap, three people are dead after clashes yesterday in Charlottesville, Va., involving white supremacists and counter-protesters. A 32-year-old woman was killed when a car sped into a crowd of the counter-protesters. Two state police officers monitoring the city died in a helicopter crash. As NPR's Sarah McCammon reports, the violence began with protests against the planned removal of a Confederate monument.

SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: A weekend filled with protests and with bloodshed had begun on Friday night with white nationalists carrying torches through the University of Virginia campus. Saturday was marked by clashes between white supremacists and those who were standing against them.

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UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Then leave.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: You came here.

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UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: But you came here.

MCCAMMON: In this video posted to Twitter by a reporter for The Daily Progress newspaper, a group can be heard telling the alt-right demonstrators to leave. It wasn't the first time white supremacists had come to Charlottesville, a college town in the shadow of the Shenandoah Valley. Outraged by plans to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, a group had carried torches through the city in May. The Ku Klux Klan came here last month. Mayor Mike Signer says Charlottesville is facing a tide of hatred that it will overcome.

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MICHAEL SIGNER: We have overcome a lot in our democracy. We've overcome McCarthyism. We've overcome segregation. And we're going to overcome this.

MCCAMMON: Signer said those who condone bigotry will be on the losing side of history. But for now, this city and others are struggling with how to remember a history of slavery and segregation. Sarah McCammon, NPR News, Charlottesville. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.