ADL honors team that prosecuted James Fields Jr.

James Alex Fields Junior. Photo provided by Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail
James Alex Fields Junior. Photo provided by Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail(ACRJ)
Updated: Feb. 28, 2020 at 12:12 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is honoring the team that prosecuted the man behind the deadly car attack following the 2017 Unite the Right rally.

James Alex Fields, Junior was convicted of convicted of 29 hate crimes for the car attack that killed activist Heather Heyer and injured dozens others on August 12, 2017.

A group of local, state, and federal law enforcement partners received the ADL SHIELD awards Wednesday, February 26.

That team includes the Charlottesville, Albemarle County, University of Virginia police departments, as well as Virginia State Police, and the Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney’s Office.

Fields is serving multiple life sentences.

02/28/2020 Release from the U.S. Department of Justice:

Roanoke, VIRGINIA – On Wednesday, February 26, the Anti Defamation League (ADL) honored a team of local, state, and federal law enforcement partners, who worked together to prosecute James Fields Jr., the white supremacist who was convicted of more than two-dozen hate crimes for a car attack in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017, with ADL SHIELD Awards during the group’s 10th Annual awards ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Since 2010, the ADL annually recognizes law enforcement for significant contributions toward protecting the American people from hate crimes, extremism, and domestic or international terrorism.

Among the recipients of this year’s ADL SHIELD Award were the local, state, and federal agencies, and individuals, that investigated, prosecuted, and assisted in the prosecution, of James Fields, Jr. The ADL recognized contributions from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia, the Department of Justice, Office of Civil Rights, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Virginia State Police, the Charlottesville City Police Department, the Albemarle County Police Department, the City of Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, and the University of Virginia Police Department.

“The awful events of August 12, 2017, including James Fields’ act of domestic terrorism, left an indelible mark on the local Charlottesville community, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and our country,” U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen stated today. “Although we couldn’t bring Heather Heyer back or heal the permanent physical and psychological injuries suffered by dozens of others, we could seek meaningful justice for these victims, their families, and the community and send a clear message that hate-inspired acts of violence, murder, and terror will be met with the full and collective force of American law enforcement. I am very proud of our federal, state, and local partners and grateful to the ADL for recognizing their extraordinary achievements.”

On August 12, 2017, after attending the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville and returning to his vehicle, Fields drove his car onto Fourth Street, a narrow, downhill, one-way street in downtown Charlottesville. At or around that same time, a racially and ethnically diverse crowd had gathered at the bottom of the hill, at the intersection of Fourth and Water Streets. Many of the individuals in the crowd were celebrating as they were chanting and carrying signs promoting equality and protesting against racial and other forms of discrimination. Fields slowly proceeded in his vehicle down Fourth Street toward the crowd. He then stopped and observed the crowd while idling in his vehicle. With no vehicle behind him, Fields then slowly reversed his vehicle toward the top of the hill.

The members of the crowd began to walk up the hill, populating the streets and sidewalks between the buildings on Fourth Street. Having reversed his car to a point at or near the top of the hill and the intersection of Fourth and Market Streets, Fields stopped again. Fields admitted that he then rapidly accelerated forward down Fourth Street in his vehicle, running through a stop sign and across a raised pedestrian mall, and drove directly into the crowd. Fields’s vehicle stopped only when it struck another stopped vehicle near the intersection of Fourth and Water Streets. Fields then rapidly reversed his car and fled the scene. As Fields drove into and through the crowd, Fields struck numerous individuals, killing Heather Heyer and injuring at least 28 others.

As the ADL recognized, local, state, and federal investigators undertook a massive coordinated investigation in the aftermath of Fields’ act of domestic terrorism. Investigators collected and reviewed over 5,000 hours of video footage related to the Unite the Right Rally, interviewed hundreds of witnesses and victims, and completed an exhaustive review of Fields’ background and social-media profile to develop evidence of his racial and anti-Semitic motivations. As a result of these extraordinary efforts, Fields was convicted of 29 federal hate crimes, as well as first-degree murder in state court, and is currently serving multiple life sentences.

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