Unite the Right rally

2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia

The Unite the Right rally was a militant gathering of alt-right, neo-Nazi, white nationalist, and far-right groups in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 11 and 12, 2017. The participants protested the removal of Confederate monuments and memorials from public spaces, specifically the Robert Edward Lee Sculpture in Emancipation Park.

Video of the car attack against counter-protesters at the rally

Speakers scheduled to appear included Tim Treadstone, David Duke, Richard Spencer, Mike Enoch, and League of the South founder Michael Hill.[1][2] Speakers claimed that Jews are ruining the West, and hailed Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler. During the rally, David Duke stated that the rally intended to fulfill the "promises of Donald Trump."[3][4]

During the rally, a car plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one person, Heather Heyer, and injuring at least 24 others.[5] A nearby police helicopter monitoring the response to the rally violence crashed, killing the two troopers on board. One of the troopers took aerial video footage of the car's impact with the crowd,[6][7] this footage was used to file charges against Fields and then sealed by Prosecutor Platania to prevent the public from viewing it.[8]

Witnesses described the violence as having originated from white nationalists.[9]

President Donald Trump said: "We all must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Let's come together as one!" He added that he condemned "in the strongest possible terms" what he called an "egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides."[10][11] Trump added that "What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order."[11]



During the 2020 George Floyd protests, the United States Marine Corps made a rule against showing the Confederate flag at their bases. In the announcement, they said "events like the violence in Charlottesville in 2017 highlight the divisiveness the use of the Confederate battle flag has on our society." [12][13]


  1. "Charlottesville Groups Send Out 'Call to Action' Against Upcoming Rally". Archived from the original on August 7, 2017. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  2. "The Alt-Right Goes Panhandling". gizmodo.com. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  3. "Ex-KKK Leader David Duke Says White Supremacists Will 'Fulfill' Trump's Promises". Huffington Post. August 12, 2017.
  4. Abby Jackson (August 12, 2017). "Former KKK leader David Duke strikes out at Trump for condemning a white nationalist rally: 'It was White Americans who put you in the presidency'". Business Insider. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
  5. KTRK. "Officials: White nationalist rally linked to 3 deaths". abc13.com. Retrieved August 12, 2017. car plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting a white nationalist rally Saturday in a Virginia college town, killing one person, hurting at least two dozen more
  6. James, Mike (December 14, 2017). "Alleged reckless driver charged with first-degree murder in Charlottesville car attack". USA Today. The video, showed in court by prosecutor Nina-Alice Antony, included some of the final words in the helicopter by crew members, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, were monitoring the demonstration. About three hours after the airborne officers witnessed Fields's alleged attack and followed his vehicle as it sped away, the helicopter crashed while Cullen and Bates were flying to another assignment, killing both men. The cause of the crash is still under investigation, the Post reported.
  7. Rankin, Sarah (15 December 2017). "Helicopter video shows ex-Kentucky man accused of ramming crowd; charges increased". kentucky.com. Surveillance footage from a Virginia State Police helicopter, played by prosecutors in court, captured the moment of impact by the car and the cursing of the startled troopers on board. The video then showed the car as it reversed, drove away and eventually pulled over. The helicopter had been monitoring the violence, and prosecutors questioned Charlottesville Police Detective Steven Young about the video as it played.
  8. Baars, Samantha (February 13, 2018). "Petitioner wants videos of fatal crash released". C-Ville Weekly. Evans has filed a motion seeking a court order under the Freedom of Information Act that the city of Charlottesville and Commonwealth's Attorney Joe Platania unseal the videos shown in an open courtroom at Fields' December 14 preliminary hearing, and make them available to the public. "The precedent is pretty clear across the entire country, both in the Supreme Court and in federal courts and in the state courts that statutes like this, when you show something like this to a portion of the public in a public setting, at that point you don't have the right as a government entity to withhold it from anybody else who asks for it", says Evans. However, Alan Gernhardt at the Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council says the videos could fall under FOIA's criminal investigative files exemption, especially if they were shown at a preliminary hearing. "They're not actually introduced into the court file", he says.
  9. "Unite the Right: White supremacists rally in Virginia". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 2017-08-13.
  10. Jenna Johnson & John Wagner, Trump condemns Charlottesville violence but doesn’t single out white nationalists, Washington Post (August 12, 2017).
  11. 11.0 11.1 Ben Jacobs & Warren Murray, Charlottesville: Trump under fire after failing to denounce white supremacists, The Guardian (August 12, 2017).
  12. United States Marine Corps (June 5, 2020). "REMOVAL OF PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF THE CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG". Twitter. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  13. Jenny Gross (June 5, 2020). "U.S. Marine Corps Issues Ban on Confederate Battle Flags". New York Times. Retrieved June 7, 2020.