Officials announced today that federal authorities had arrested four people tied to violence at the 2017 Unite the Right rally that terrorized Charlottesville, Virginia, and spurred a violent attack that resulted in the death of counter-protester Heather Heyer. Hardcore white supremacists online aren’t happy.
HuffPost reported today that the four men were charged with conspiracy to riot, which enhances the legal consequences adherents of the alt-right are facing for the violence that occurred at last year’s rally. It’s currently unclear if there will be more arrests to come. From HuffPost:
Four men were slapped with federal conspiracy charges related to the rallies on Aug. 11 and 12: Cole Evan White, Benjamin Drake Daley, Michael Paul Miselis and Thomas Walter Gillen, each identified as marchers in either the torch rally on campus or the deadly gathering at the park the next day.
The charges were not directly related to the death of Heather Heyer, who died when a car driven by white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr. slammed into a crowd of protesters demonstrating against racism. Federal authorities announced charges against Fields back in June.
HuffPost’s Ryan J. Reilly, who first reported the development, wrote that those arrested had been identified as members of the white supremacist organization Rise Above Movement (RAM), which ProPublica reported to be a violent gang of white supremacists based in Southern California hell-bent on unleashing violence against its perceived enemies. Records obtained by HuffPost state that RAM members have uploaded videos of themselves engaging in violence at multiple locations in California.
“This wasn’t, in our view, a lawful exercise of First Amendment rights. These guys came to Charlottesville in order to commit violent acts and it wasn’t the first time they had done it,” United States attorney Thomas T. Cullen said during a press conference this afternoon. He said that three of those arrested would appear in federal court today and the fourth will appear tomorrow morning.
This morning, when the charges were first announced but suspects had not yet been named, white supremacist circles of the internet began speculating that police had arrested anti-fascist protesters. But when the apprehended suspects were revealed as their own, white supremacists like Christopher Cantwell, Eric Striker, and Brad Griffin (Hunter Wallace) lashed out in anger.