Neo-Nazi Vanguard America group denies link to Charlottesville attacker
Albemarle County Jail (AFP)
Pictures emerged on Sunday that appear to link James Alex Fields, the man charged over the Charlottesville car-ramming attack that killed one and injures scores more, to the white supremacist and neo-Nazi Vanguard America group.
The New York Daily News published a picture one of its photographers snapped hours before the terror attack, showing Fields holding a shield carrying the emblem of the white nationalist outfit, which the Anti-Defamation League described as a hate group with an increasing focus on neo-Nazi ideology.
Heather Heyer, a 32 year-old woman, was killed and nineteen others injured when a grey Dodge Challenger plowed at high speed into a group of counter-demonstrators at the far-right gathering in the small Virginia city on Saturday.
Fields has been charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and one count of hit-and-run, according to a statement from Charlottesville police on Saturday.
On Sunday Vanguard America denied any link to Fields, claiming in a statement posted on Twitter that the shields were given out "freely" to anyone in attendance at the far-right rally.
In a profile of the group, the Anti-Defamation League said that Vanguard has become increasingly focused on anti-Semitism during 2017.
"In one iteration of their manifesto, posted in February 2017, the VA explained that America was built on the foundation of White Europeans, and that the glory of the Aryan nation must be recaptured," an article on the ADL website explains.
"VA has also stressed the need for the nation to be free of the influence of the international Jews. In July 2017, VA tweeted, 'Those behind the subversive elements eroding our culture often have something in common. Jewish influence is prevalent, invasive, dangerous.'"
Twenty year-old Fields was born in Kentucky and had recently moved to Maumee, Ohio, his mother told a local newspaper.
Military records show he joined the US Army in 2015, but was discharged four months later for reasons that are unclear, the New York Times reported.
Images posted on his Facebook page show insignia popular among American neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
You need to be logged in in order to post comments. Sign up or log in