Ohio Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Hate Crimes in Charlottesville Vehicle Ramming
An Ohio man awaiting sentencing on state-level convictions in Virginia pleaded guilty to federal hate crimes for driving his car into a crowd of people at a white supremacist rally. James Alex Fields (pictured), 21, admitted to one count of a hate crime act that resulted in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer and 28 counts of hate crime acts that caused bodily injury and involved an attempt to kill other people in the crowd, according to prosecutors on March 27. After law enforcement declared an “unlawful assembly” at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, 2017, Fields returned to his vehicle before intentionally driving into counter-protesters. Fields was photographed with members of a white supremacist group at the rally prior to the attack, wearing its signature clothing and carrying a shield displaying its logo. He also admitted that he expressed and promoted white supremacist views on social media. Fields faces up to life in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 for each of the federal hate crime counts when he is sentenced on July 3. A jury in Virginia also recommended that Fields receive a life sentence for convictions in state court of first-degree murder and other charges.
California Man Found With Bomb-Making Materials in Vehicle Received 19 Years in Prison
A man who authorities stopped in Southern California with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in his vehicle was sentenced to more than 19 years in prison. During the sentencing hearing on March 25, Saleh Ali of Salinas, California, called the judge a cockroach and said the deputy district attorney “seems to be confused. … Maybe she has a Jewish background, I don’t know.” The 48-year-old was found guilty on March 4 of use of a destructive device with the intent to injure, sale and transportation of a destructive device, possession of a destructive device on a public highway, and intent to unlawfully make a destructive device. Police arrested Ali on September 18 when officers discovered two small IEDs in his car during a traffic stop for expired registration tags. According to prosecutors, the devices were “glass containers with improvised fuses covered in shrapnel, which contained explosive material.” Authorities destroyed the IEDs. Police also found instructions on how to build a bomb. Ali’s criminal history includes incidents in New Jersey. He was convicted of terrorist threats and possessing a weapon with an unlawful purpose in 2003 after shooting at two men during an argument. He also pleaded guilty to aggravated assault after slashing a man in the face during a dispute in 2003.
Oklahoma Democratic Party Headquarters Vandalized With Hateful Graffiti
A hate crime investigation has been opened following the vandalism of a building housing the Oklahoma Democratic Party headquarters in Oklahoma City. Racist, anti-Semitic, and other hateful graffiti was found on the parking lot, a walkway, and doors to the building on March 28. Phrases that had been cleaned by the afternoon included “White planet only,” “Gas the Jews,” and “Welcome to Germany.” Swastikas, other Nazi references, and derogatory language targeting black people and gay, lesbian, and transgender people were also left around the facility. Other Oklahoma state agencies, nonprofit organizations, and businesses occupy space at the building. Authorities said the incident is connected to similar vandalism found at the city’s office for a Native American nation, and they identified a woman through surveillance images as a suspect.