Montgomery County – The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors sent a letter Tuesday expressing their support to the City of Charlottesville following the white nationalist demonstrations that led to one murder and injured dozens more this past weekend.
The letter, addressed to Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer, does not mince words when calling out those responsible for the Unite the Right rally.
“We, the Montgomery County, Va., Board of Supervisors stand with you against the evil that was represented in the City of Charlottesville this past weekend during the Unite the Right rally held by white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, skinheads, and other associated hate groups,” the letter states. “Our thoughts are with you, your fellow leaders, and your citizens. You all have done a great job managing what was an extremely tragic and unfortunate event, an event that was not of your making.”
Friday and Saturday’s rally was the third and largest protest held in recent months following the city council’s decision to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from what is now known as Emancipation Park. The council made the decision in February (by a 3-2 vote) to remove the statue that has been at the park since 1917, but in May, a judge issued a six-month injunction prohibiting the removal of the statue until a civil suit on the matter could be settled.
Since then, white nationalist groups have used the removal of the statue as a means to rally and spread the groups’ hate-filled agenda.
According to multiple news sources, Saturday’s violence began at Emancipation Park with white nationalist protesters chanting Nazi-era slogans among other racial epithets, while some counter protesters chanted “kill all Nazis” and became increasingly discontent with the racist protests.
Violence erupted between the two groups well before the rally’s official noon start time, which led Governor Terry McAuliffe and the City of Charlottesville to declare a state of emergency, and the Virginia State Police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly, leading riot police to attempt to clear the scene.
According to multiple reports, at approximately 1:45 p.m., people who were protesting the rally were struck by a vehicle driving into the crowd, killing 32-year-old Charlottesville resident Heather Heyer and injuring dozens more.
The alleged driver, James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old male from Ohio, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder among other crimes later that day.
That evening, a Virginia State Police helicopter working surveillance for the rally crashed west of Charlottesville, killing two state troopers, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen of Midlothian, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton. The crash is still being investigated.
The board stated in its letter that the events in Charlottesville transcend politics.
“Our Board feels that this is not about being a Republican or a Democrat, this is about being an American. We are encouraging everyone, regardless of race, national origin, or political affiliation to stand up and to speak out against such an unacceptable belief system that does not represent America,” the letter states. “We stand with you in being a beacon of intolerance for such hate.
“We stand with you in calling it what it is and making it clear that this hatred and bigotry, this domestic terrorism, is not welcome in our communities or in America.
“We stand with you in speaking out against these hate groups and protecting the morals and values that make this melting pot of people and culture in America great.”
The letter concluded with an offer from the county