Federal authorities arrested four men in California on charges that they traveled to Virginia to incite a riot at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in August 2017. The defendants are affiliated with the white nationalist Rise Above Movement. A fifth man faces capital charges for killing a woman in a car crash.
Federal authorities arrested four men in California Tuesday on charges that they traveled to Virginia to incite a riot at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in August 2017, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. U.S. Attorney Thomas Cullen said Benjamin Daley, 25; Thomas Gillen, 34; Michael Miselis, 29; and Cole White, 24, had been charged with violating two federal riot statutes. The charges arise from an FBI and Virginia State Police investigation into the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville over a year ago that degenerated into street fighting. It resulted in one death and dozens of injuries when a car was driven into a crowd protesting the rally. There have been 17 criminal cases brought forward, several of which have resulted in convictions.
The criminal complaints against the four men allege that they are affiliated with the white nationalist Rise Above Movement and traveled to Virginia from California “with intent to incite a riot.” Cullen said the four men attacked counterprotesters without provocation and previously carried out similar attacks at rallies in California. Members of the Rise Above Movement train in mixed martial arts and street fighting to prepare for violence at political rallies, according to the federal complaint. Organized as a protest against the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, neo-Nazis and white supremacists from across the U.S. banded together to attend the rally. James Alex Fields, 21, of Maumee, Ohio, is facing the death penalty for allegedly murdering Heather Heyer and injuring scores of people in a car crash near Charlottesville’s downtown pedestrian mall. The Anti-Defamation League has labeled the Rise Above Movement as an extremist white supremacist group consisting of “several dozen loosely affiliated neo-Nazis and racist skinheads,” some of whom have violent criminal backgrounds.