The Charlottesville Case

In August 2017, hundreds of white supremacists, white nationalists, and neo-Nazis invaded Charlottesville, Virginia.

On August 11, they marched with torches and surrounded a group of students and community members on the University of Virginia campus. White supremacists pushed, punched, and threw lighted torches. Religious leaders at a nearby church sheltered in place fearing that they would be next.

On August 12, white supremacists and neo-Nazis marched military-style to Emancipation Park, shouting racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic slurs. They charged through a line of interfaith clergy. They attacked and assaulted countless citizens. After police dispersed them, James Alex Fields Jr. drove his car into a crowd of peaceful protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.

With this lawsuit, Charlottesville is fighting back. This case sends a message to every hate group in the country: Americans will not give in to violence and hate. We will defend the dignity and equality of all people. And we will ensure this never happens again.

Timeline

March 15, 2018: Default Entered Against Five Defendants 

Plaintiffs obtained entries of default against five defendants, including neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin and the East Coast Knights of the KKK. 

March 14, 2018: Plaintiffs Filed an Emergency Motion

Plaintiffs filed an emergency motion after Defendants Matt Parrott and the Traditionalist Worker Party made statements suggesting that they were destroying relevant evidence.

February 26, 2018: David Duke Filed a Motion to Quash

Former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, a non-party, filed a motion to quash Plaintiffs' subpoena for documents regarding the violence in Charlottesville.

January 5, 2018: Amended Complaint Filed

Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, including two new named plaintiffs who were injured by Defendant James Alex Fields, Jr.

October 11, 2017: Complaint Filed

Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against white supremacists and hate groups for conspiring and causing violence in Charlottesville. The complaint alleged violations of the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act and various state laws.

The Plaintiffs

Plaintiffs are ten members of the Charlottesville community. They include parents and students, businesspeople, a Christian minister, and others who peacefully protested when white supremacists invaded their hometown. Plaintiffs were specifically targeted on the basis of their race, religion, and ethnicity or because they stood up for the safety and civil rights of others. Plaintiffs were injured by the Defendants, including three who were hurt when James Alex Fields, Jr., drove his car into a crowd of peaceful protesters. As stated in the Complaint, Plaintiffs hope "to ensure that nothing like this will happen again at the hands of Defendants—not on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, and not anywhere else in the United States of America."

Charlottesville Residents Decry White Supremacist Rally

The Defendants

Defendants are 25 prominent white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and hate groups that planned, promoted, and executed the violent acts in Charlottesville. They came with clubs and shields, pistols and assault rifles, helmets and pepper spray. Defendants killed one woman and injured dozens more. They did not come to protest peacefully. They came with a plan to provoke violence.

Defendants include Jason Kessler, a white nationalist who led the organizing efforts, Richard Spencer, a white nationalist who believes in "ethnic cleansing," Matthew Heimbach, a white nationalist who said, "Of course we look up to men like Adolf Hitler," and James Alex Fields Jr., as well as hate groups like the Traditionalist Worker Party, Identity Evropa, and the League of the South.

Loyal White Knights Rally

The Legal Case

After the Civil War, Congress passed laws to guarantee the civil rights of black Americans and combat the Ku Klux Klan’s reign of terror in the South. In their complaint, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants, motivated by racism and bigotry, conspired to commit assault, battery, and other acts of violence and intimidation in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, the KKK Act of 1871, and numerous Virginia laws. Plaintiffs seek compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief.

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