Four members of an anti-fascist group were arrested this weekend after allegedly throwing paint-filled water balloons at a rally outside the White House in support of Charlottesville killer James Fields.
The protesters were arrested by Secret Service officers on Saturday afternoon after taking aim at demonstrators, WTOP reported. The event had been planned by conservative activist Jovanni Valle, who goes by Jovi Val. It was meant to show support for James Alex Fields, the man convicted of killing Heather Heyer and injuring a number of others after he drove his car into a crowd at the 2017 rally in Charlottesville.
Fields was found guilty of first-degree murder and faces life in prison, but has gained defenders among the far-right.
Jovi Val, the organizer of Saturday’s rally, had gained notoriety as a member of the far-right group Proud Boys, and said the rally this weekend was for oppressed conservatives. Val believes that Fields had been treated unfairly by the judicial system.
Val has been in the news before for his protests and attacks against him. The New York Post reported in 2017 that Val was allegedly bashed over the head with a glass bottle at a Manhattan bar. Val claimed he was targeted for wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat, which was stomped by a woman after it fell off his head on the dance floor. Val said he put his hand on the woman’s shoulder, leading her boyfriend to began punching him in the head and hitting him with the bottle.
“I wear my hat because I want to make America great again like the president,” he said. “I like Trump because he doesn’t sugarcoat anything. A hat that says ‘America’ and ‘great’ on it shouldn’t be polarizing. This is a political hate crime. I got attacked for what I think.”
Jovi Val and 4 friends rallied outside the White House today & claimed nationalists (specifically, white nationalists) are treated unfairly by the criminal justice system. Val said James Fields (convicted of 1st degree murder) was acting in self defense.— Jared Holt (@jaredlholt) January 5, 2019
Val = former Proud Boy pic.twitter.com/zyTBv1aeWf
The couple was charged with assault for the encounter. Val was also charged with assault, but the Manhattan District Attorney declined to press charges.
Val later received a free surgery from a pro-Trump doctor who heard about the attack and felt compelled to help.
A few weeks before the beating, Val was in the news for disrupting an anti-Trump performance of Julius Ceasar in New York City. Val allegedly ran onto the stage at the performance, shouting “Liberal hate kills!” He was arrested and charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct for the incident.
The Antifa members arrested on Saturday for throwing paint-filled balloons were charged with simple assault.