Our plaintiffs are members of the Charlottesville community. They include parents, students, a Christian minister, and others who peacefully protested when white supremacists invaded their hometown. They 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.
The plaintiffs were injured by the defendants, including a number who were grievously injured when James Alex Fields, Jr., drove his car into a crowd of peaceful protesters. As stated in the complaint, our 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."
These descriptions are pulled from the complaint, which can be read in full here.
Martin, an African American resident of Virginia and landscaper, joined his fiancée Marissa Blair and her coworker Heather Heyer on August 12th to peacefully speak out against the racist violence that had descended on their town. Martin pushed his fiancée out of the way when Defendant James Fields drove his car into a crowd of protesters in an act of domestic terrorism, but he was struck himself. He was severely injured by the attack, including sustaining a broken leg and ankle that required surgery, and continues to suffer severe emotional distress.
Blair, a multi-racial Virginia resident and paralegal, was peacefully protesting on August 12th when Defendant James Fields drove his car into a crowd of protesters, killing Blair’s co-worker and friend Heather Heyer. Fields’s car narrowly missed Blair only because her fiancé, fellow Plaintiff Marcus Martin, pushed her out of the way before being hit himself. Blair suffered physical injuries and continues to suffer from severe emotional distress.
Sines was a second-year law student at UVA when she decided to peacefully protest against the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who had descended on her campus and her city. She survived both the tiki torch march and violence on August 11 and the domestic terrorist attack on August 12 in which Defendant Fields drove a car into a crowd. Since these attacks, Sines has suffered from severe emotional distress and shock. Photo: The Law Weekly
Wispelwey was born and raised in Charlottesville. He is an ordained Minister with the United Church of Christ and co-founder of Congregate — which organized interfaith gatherings and trainings in non-violent protest for residents of Charlottesville leading up to the events of August 11 and 12. He was harassed, intimidated, and assaulted by the defendants and their co-conspirators for standing up for minority residents in Charlottesville. Wispelwey has since suffered extreme emotional distress that has manifested in physical symptoms and was unable to return full-time to work. Photo: Jill Harms
Romero, a Colombian-American undergraduate student at UVA, was one of a group of community members and students who were surrounded by torch-bearing neo-Nazis and white supremacists at the Rotunda on August 11. On August 12, Romero was peacefully protesting when she was struck by the vehicle driven by Defendant Fields. The car knocked her unconscious, fracturing her skull and leaving her with a concussion, among other extensive injuries. She continues to suffer vertigo and debilitating headaches, among other injuries. Photo: ddp USA/REX/Shutterstock
Baker is a resident of Charlottesville and a conservation biologist for a landscape architecture company. On August 12th, Baker peacefully protested the defendants’ planned event. Baker was directly struck by Defendant James Fields’ car, which hurled Baker into the air. He suffered severe injuries from the attack, including a concussion, torn ligament, torn labrum in his hip, and more. Baker had to undergo major surgery and other treatment, missing over a month of work. He still cannot run, jump, or stand for long periods of time without pain; he will likely need a hip replacement and may never regain his full strength. Baker also suffered severe emotional injuries and continues to suffer severe emotional distress.
Muñiz, a Mexican-American resident of Virginia, peacefully protested the defendants’ planned event on August 12th and was intimidated and harassed on multiple occasions. She was close to being hit by the car that Defendant Fields intentionally drove into a crowd of protesters in an act of domestic terrorism. Muñiz has suffered severe emotional injury, has been diagnosed with acute stress disorder and trauma, and was unable to return to work (as Director of Clinical Operations for a company that develops treatments for incurable diseases) for months. She has also suffered economic loss as a result of her injuries.
Alvarado is a resident of Virginia and a crisis counselor for the homeless and mentally ill. She was peacefully protesting the defendants’ planned event when she was struck by Defendant Fields when he drove into the crowd; she then narrowly missed being hit again by Fields when he drove his car backwards up the street. The car knocked Alvarado to the ground, causing her to suffer serious injuries, including a concussion and severe contusions on her legs. Alvarado continues to experience the side effects of these injuries, as well as severe emotional distress. Photo: Noticiero Univision Exclusiva
Plaintiff Devin Willis is an African American resident of Virginia and a student at UVA. On August 11, Willis peacefully protested the defendants’ white supremacist tiki torch march on his campus. On the basis of his race, he was intimidated, harassed, assaulted, and sprayed with caustic substances. He originally joined the case pseudonymously for fear of additional harassment and violence.
Click here to read the complaint, detailing the full extent of our plaintiffs’ injuries and how the defendants planned the violence in advance.