A protest held in Charlottesville, Virginia that was deemed a right protected under the First Amendment, was interrupted as a car smashed into protesters and other cars, killing at least one person and injuring at least 19.
Video was being taken as the protest was held and it captured the incident live.
Warning: Graphic content and language.
— Anarcho-Khomeinist🏴 (@NthRepublic) August 12, 2017
Video shows a gray Dodge Charger with Ohio plates speed up as it makes its way toward protesters and slam into another vehicle.
The driver then backs up in an attempt to flee the scene.
The Washington Post reports:
A chaotic and violent day turned to tragedy Saturday as hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members — planning to stage what they described as their largest rally in decades to “take America back” — clashed with counterprotesters in the streets and a car plowed into crowds, killing one person and injuring 19 others.
City officials said it was too soon to tell whether the car crash was intentional, but the driver of one of the vehicles was taken into custody.
Angela Taylor, a spokeswoman for UVA Medical Center, said 20 people were brought to the hospital in the early afternooon after three cars collided in a pedestrian mall packed with people, many of them counterprotesters. She confirmed that one had died, but declined to release further details.
Earlier, police had evacuated a downtown park as rallygoers and counterprotesters traded blows and hurled bottles and chemical irritants at one another, putting an end to the noon rally before it officially began.
Witness Nic McCarthy told C-VILLE Weekly, “There was someone in a dark vehicle that sped, very quickly, down this road and rammed into the crowd.”
“People… He backed up and he went back in again,” she added.
“There was a girl that was caught and she was trying to get up and it ran over her again,” she continued. “I hope the cops catch these terrorists.”
Several hundred protesters were gathered and marching in a long line when the car crash occurred.
However, that was not all that occurred in Charlottesville.
A police helicopter that was circling the event crashed, killing two people on board.
Virginia State Police confirmed the deaths of the two people on the helicopter in a Facebook post.
Virginia State Police are investigating a helicopter crash in Albemarle County.
Shortly before 5 p.m. today (Aug. 12), a helicopter crashed into a wooded area near a residence on Old Farm Road. There are two confirmed fatalities.
No one on the ground was injured. The cause of the crash remains under investigation at this time. State police are on scene with Albemarle County police and fire units.
More information will be released as it becomes available.
The FAA confirmed the crash as well, tweeting: “FAA says a helicopter crashed 7 miles southwest of Charlottesville at about 4:50 pm; 2 people were on board; FAA investigating.”
NEW: FAA says a helicopter crashed 7 miles southwest of Charlottesville at about 4:50 pm; 2 people were on board; FAA investigating.
— ABC News (@ABC) August 12, 2017
— Kevin Lewis (@ABC7Kevin) August 12, 2017
— Kevin Lewis (@ABC7Kevin) August 12, 2017
President Trump condemned the clash between protesters, but would not put the blame on one side or the other.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides,” Trump said at a press conference from his New Jersey golf course.
“It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time,” he continued.
Trump went to Twitter to call for unity tweeting, “We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!”
We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017
Some in DC condemned Trump for not offering more condemnation of particular groups.
“Mr. President – we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism,” Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) wrote on Twitter.
“White supremacists, Neo-Nazis and anti-Semites are the antithesis of our American values,” wrote Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). “There are no other ‘sides’ to hatred and bigotry.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said in a message on Twitter it was “very important for the nation to hear @POTUS describe events in #Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by #whitesupremacists.”