Tags: Charlottesville | jeff sessions | charlottesville driver | hate crime | charge

Sessions: Charlottesville Driver May Face Hate Crime Charge

NBC News

By    |   Wednesday, 16 August 2017 12:00 PM

The driver of a car that hit several counter protesters and killed one person during the violent weekend events in Charlottesville, Virginia, could face federal hate crime charges, although that has not yet been determined, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Wednesday.

"It very well could be a civil rights violation or a hate crime, and there might be other charges that could be brought," Sessions told NBC News during an exclusive interview at the Justice Department. "We are working it intensely on the assumption we may might want to prosecute him."

The Justice Department also is working with state and local authorities, said Sessions, as they "clearly have jurisdiction, too, and often they're the ones that have the best charges."

Meanwhile, he said federal authorities are not rushing the case, and no decisions have been reached about the driver, James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Ohio, or whether he'll be tried in state or federal court.

Fields was arrested Saturday after he allegedly drove a car into a group of counter-protesters in one of Charlottesville's streets, killing Heather Heyer, 32 and hurting at least 19 other people.

State charges have already been filed against Fields, who remains in custody without bond.

Sessions said that he does not feel that the federal government needs to file its charges "in a matter of hours or even days," and that the investigation is continuing. He also would not comment on whether he thinks the deadly attack was pre-planned.

"We'll work with the state and locals and then decide, in a collaborative way, to see what the best charges will be," Sessions said. "One of the worst things you can do is get into some sort of fight over jurisdiction and try to snatch a case from another jurisdiction. The right and professional thing to do is work together and to make an honest and objective decision about whether the right place is to bring the case."

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The driver of a car that hit several counter protesters and killed on during the violent weekend events in Charlottesville, Virginia, could face federal hate crime charges, although that has not yet been determined, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Wednesday.
jeff sessions, charlottesville driver, hate crime, charge
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2017-00-16
Wednesday, 16 August 2017 12:00 PM
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