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Thursday October 19th, 2017 8:46AM

The Latest: White nationalist: Police to blame for violence

By The Associated Press
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — The Latest on the white nationalist rally being held in Charlottesville (all times local):

11 p.m.

A white nationalist blames police for the violence that erupted before and after a rally where he was scheduled to speak before it turned deadly.

Richard Spencer told The Associated Press on Saturday that he doesn't take responsibility for the violence and accused state and local police of endangering lives in how they handled the rally.

Spencer said that he "did not attempt to engage in any kind of violence. So the idea that I could be held responsible is absurd. It's like blaming the fire department for a fire."

He said that he was pepper-sprayed twice during the day.

Spencer said he recommended that people should disperse after the state of emergency was declared.

Spencer also said he found President Donald Trump's comments on the Charlottesville violence to be "rather vague and kind of lame."

___

10:25 p.m.

A woman who identified herself as the mother of the man accused of driving his car into a crowd of peaceful protesters says he told her he was going to the rally.

Samantha Bloom, of Ohio, confirmed details about her son's car and his trip to Virginia, saying she received a text from him last week that said he'd gotten some time off from work and was going to a rally.

She said her son hadn't given her any details about the rally but that she told him "to be careful" and to peaceful.

Bloom became visibly upset as she learned that dozens of people were injured during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

Bloom said she and Fields had just relocated to the Toledo area from Florence, Kentucky, a Cincinnati, Ohio, suburb

___

9:40 p.m.

Authorities say a 20-year-old Ohio man accused of driving a car into a group of counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally has been charged with second-degree murder and other counts.

The Charlottesville Police Department said in a statement Saturday night that James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio also faces three counts of malicious wounding, and one count related to leaving the scene.

Col. Martin Kumer, superintendent of the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, said Fields was in custody there Saturday night. Kumer says he doesn't believe Fields has obtained an attorney yet.

He says a bond hearing is scheduled for Monday.

____

8:45 p.m.

Virginia state police said one of their agency's helicopters crashed Saturday outside Charlottesville, killing two troopers.

Police said the helicopter was assisting law enforcement officers monitoring the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

Police said Lt. H. Jay Cullen of Midlothian and Trooper-pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton were killed in the crash.

The crash happened just a few hours after a car plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting against the white nationalist rally. One person was killed and at least two dozen were hurt.

___

This story has been corrected to fix the spelling of Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates' first name. It had been spelled Burke.

___

6:35 p.m.

Officials say the deaths of two people in a helicopter crash near Charlottesville, Virginia, have been linked to a violent white nationalist rally earlier in the day.

It was not immediately clear how the crash was connected to the rally. Corinne Geller, a Virignia State Police spokeswoman, says the pilot and a passenger were killed in the crash Saturday afternoon.

The crash happened just a few hours after a car plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting against the white nationalist rally. One person was killed and at least two dozen were hurt.

___

5:20 p.m.

The organizer of a rally that drew hundreds of white nationalists and other extremists to Charlottesville says he disavows the violence that eroded it.

Jason Kessler said in an interview Saturday evening that whoever drove a car into a group of counter-protesters "did the wrong thing." He said he was saddened that people were hurt.

Kessler is a local blogger and activist who described the event as a pro-white rally. He planned it to protest the city's decision to remove a Confederate monument.

He also criticized law enforcement's response to the event, which was dispersed before speakers could take the stage.

He said they did a poor job controlling the chaos to allow free speech.

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4:15 p.m.

A state official said the driver of a car that plowed into a group of marchers in Charlottesville is in police custody.

Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran said the driver, a man, has been arrested.

Moran did not immediately provide a name of the driver.

Witnesses say a car plowed into a crowd of people who were protesting a rally, which was held by white nationalists who oppose the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee by the city of Charlottesville. Officials say one person was killed and at least 26 were treated at local hospitals.

___

3:45 p.m.

A hospital official says one person has died and 19 were injured after a car plowed into a group of protesters in Charlottesville.

University of Virginia Medical Center spokeswoman Angela Taylor confirmed the death to The Associated Press.

The mayor of Charlottesville said via Twitter on Saturday that he is "heartbroken" to announce that a "life has been lost." He did not provide details.

Witnesses say a car plowed into a crowd of people who were protesting the rally, which was held by white nationalists who oppose the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee by the city of Charlottesville.

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3:20 p.m.

Officials say there are multiple injuries after a car plowed into a group of people marching peacefully in downtown Charlottesville.

Video of the incident shows a silver Dodge Charger crashing into a car where protesters were marching and then rapidly reversing away.

Michael Nigro, a photojournalist from Brooklyn, told reporters shortly after the incident he heard the screech of tires and saw a gray Charger accelerate toward the group. Several hundred people were peacefully marching through downtown.

Nigro says it was "chaos and mayhem" as bodies flew.

Officials didn't immediately release any further information and it wasn't immediately clear if anyone was in custody.

___

2 p.m.

Authorities are on the scene after a vehicle plowed into a group of people marching peacefully through downtown Charlottesville.

An Associated Press reporter saw at least one person on the ground receiving medical treatment immediately afterward the incident. It occurred approximately two hours after violent clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters.

The nationalists were holding the rally to protest plans by the city of Charlottesville to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

There were several hundred protesters marching in a long line when the car drove into a group of them.

___

1:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump is tweeting about the violence that has erupted amid a white supremacist march in Virginia.

Trump tweeted Saturday that "we ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for." He then wrote "There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!"

The demonstrations began Friday in Charlottesville with white nationalists marching through town and while carrying lit torches. The demonstrators then clashed with counter-protesters.

Some of the white nationalists cited Trump's victory as validation for their beliefs.

The White House was silent for hours about the clashes except for a solitary tweet from First Lady Melania Trump. The president has received previous criticism for being slow to condemn acts of hate done in his name.

___

1:35 p.m.

The organizer of a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville is encouraging attendees to leave town after authorities declared an unlawful assembly and police ordered people to disperse.

Right-wing blogger Jason Kessler organized Saturday's rally to protest the city's decision to remove a statue of confederate General Robert E. Lee.

Kessler told The Associated Press Saturday that he and other people who were going to speak at the event evacuated with security when police issued the order to disperse.

He says he wants rally attendees to leave town peacefully.

Richard Spencer is a prominent alt-right activist who was scheduled to speak. He says he's also encouraging people to go home.

___

12:50 p.m.

First Lady Melania Trump is calling for peace after violent clashes broke out at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

Trump said Saturday on Twitter: "Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let's communicate w/o hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence."

Hundreds of white nationalists and counter protestors faced off Saturday in downtown Charlottesville, with several violent clashes erupting.

It's the latest confrontation in the city since it voted to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a downtown park.

___

12:35 p.m.

The NHL's Detroit Red Wings released a statement denouncing the use of their logo at the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and saying they are considering legal action to stop it.

The team says it "vehemently" disagrees with and is not associated with the event. The Red Wings add they are "exploring every possible legal action as it pertains to the misuse of our logo in this disturbing demonstration."

A Michigan-based white nationalist group called the Detroit Right Wings uses the Red Wings' logo. The organization posted on its Twitter account that members had arrived in Charlottesville.

___

12:25 p.m.

Virginia's governor has declared a state of emergency in response to a white nationalist rally that is expected to draw up to 6,000 people.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe said via his Twitter account on Saturday morning that the declaration was made in order "to aid state response to violence" at the rally in Charlottesville, about 100 miles outside of Washington, D.C.

It's the latest confrontation in the city since it voted earlier this year to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a downtown park.

The city's manager also declared a local emergency and police ordered people to disperse from the area around the statue after several violent clashes broke out.

___

Hundreds of people are facing off in Charlottesville ahead of a white nationalist rally planned in the Virginia city's downtown.

Rally supporters and counter-protesters screamed, chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays on each other Saturday morning.

Men dressed in militia uniforms were carrying shields and openly carrying long guns.

Right-wing blogger Jason Kessler planned what he called a "pro-white" rally to protest Charlottesville's decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a city park. Thousands of people are expected to pack the area.

There were also fights Friday night, when hundreds of white nationalists marched through the University of Virginia campus carrying torches.

A university spokesman said one person was arrested and several people were injured.

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