Four Californian White Supremacists Arrested For Connection To Charlottesville Rally

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Four members of the Rise Above Movement out of California have been arrested by local authorities for their involvement in the deadly Charlottesville rally of 2017, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The four men — Benjamin Drake Daley, Michael Paul Miselis, Thomas Walter Gillen and Cole Evan White — were arrested for inciting a riot against counter protesters last year. In the affidavit that charged the men, it says that they were “among the most violent individuals present in Charlottesville” arguing that there is video and photographic evidence of the four men attacking counter-protesters.

The men are part of the anti-Semitic Rise Above movement, which stages meetings in public parks to specifically train in fighting techniques ahead of these sorts of events.

Charges against the four men argue that they have taken part in violent actions at other political rallies — mostly in the Californian cities of Huntington Beach and Berkeley — but also other cities around the state.

It isn’t known if the men have attorneys yet, or if they have declined representation — but the group is currently awaiting the initial hearings into their alleged crimes.

These arrests come shortly after federal prosecutors said that they were ramping up their prosecution of crimes from the Charlottesville rally. Virginia U.S. Attorney Thomas Cullen is scheduled to speak at a press conference this afternoon to discuss the charges against these four — and potentially more — men.

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The “Unite the Right” rally erupted into violence on August 11 of last year when white nationalists — carrying torches while chanting racist slogans on the University of Virginia campus — ran into a group of counter-protesters. Violence erupted shortly thereafter.

One day later, the violence continued as a larger group engaged in fighting on the street before the event could officially begin. The fighting continued for over an hour before the police intervened and eventually got both sides to leave the area.

That evening, Heather Heyer was killed when a man drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters gathering peacefully in the area. James Fields Jr. is the man accused of the crime, charged with a federal hate crime in addition to murder. Prosecutors have said that Fields is fascinated by Adolf Hitler and was in Charlottesville to attend the rally of the white supremacist organizations.

“Unite the Right” was the biggest white supremacist rally in at least a decade, and sparked further controversy after the event when Donald Trump blamed both sides for the violence in the city.