The mayor of Lexington, Kentucky, announced he is planning to remove the two Confederate statues from his city’s former courthouse after the violent clashes between white nationalists and counter protesters in Virginia over the weekend.
Major Jim Gray revealed the news on Saturday after the riots in Charlottesville that left a woman dead after a car rammed the crowd. Two Virginia State Police Department pilots who responded to the violence were also killed when their helicopter crashed after a technical malfunction.
Gray said he had previously planned to announce the news next week, but recent events pushed him to declare the news earlier than normal.
He announced the news in a series of tweets: “I am taking action to relocate the Confederate statues. We have thoroughly examined this issue, and heard from many of our citizens.”
The next step in removing the Confederate statues involves the Mayor asking the council to support Lexington’s petition to the Ky Milltiay Heritage Commission, which the mayor says is a required next step, according to his Twitter.
He also said that the country must come together to condemn the violence from both white supremacists and Nazi hate groups.
“We cannot let them define our future,” he wrote on Twitter.
Nationalists gathered to protest the city’s plans to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee when counter protestors arrived, including Anti-Fa and Black Lives Matter, and violence between the groups erupted.
The mayor’s announcement came just a day after the violence in Charlottesville.
Groups consisting of nationalists, white supremacists, and alt-right groups were first scheduled to gather in Charlottesville’s Emancipation Park on Aug. 12 when the clashes broke out. Police soon arrived to break up the event before it began, The Hill reported.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency for the city after the violent clashes.
More Details Revealed on James Fields, Man Accused of Ramming Car into Protesters
By Jack Phillips
More details on the man accused of killing a woman after plowing his Dodge Challenger through a group of protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, have been released.
“He was very infatuated with the Nazis, with Adolf Hitler,” his high school teacher, Derek Weimer, told Cincinnati’s WPCO.
James Fields Jr. had an interest in history, namely with “German military history and World War II. But, he was pretty infatuated with that stuff,” Weimer told the station.
Weimer described him as respectful of others, but had “radical ideas” on race.
“I developed a good rapport with him and used that rapport to constantly try to steer him away from those beliefs to show clear examples—why that thinking is wrong, why their beliefs were evil, you know, things like that,” Weimer told WCPO, adding that he was on antipsychotic medication.
The 20-year-old was charged with second-degree murder and a slew of other charges.
Meanwhile, a new video angle of the incident emerged and was posted on YouTube (warning: disturbing), showing the Challenger hitting the group of people, sending bodies into the air. Then, immediately after the collision, a group of bat-wielding people gather around the vehicle and start hitting it. That’s before the driver backs up at high speed, knocking several of them to the ground.
Photos uploaded to the New York Daily News and other websites appear to show Fields holding a shield with the Vanguard America logo. The organization, on Twitter, denied he’s a member.
News outlets on Sunday reported that the lone fatality in the car crash was a woman, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who worked as a paralegal.
“She was there with her friends and she was trying to simply cross the street as the movement was breaking up that day and she was plowed down by a young man who was intent on spreading hate and thought hate would fix the world,” Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, told NBC News.