Organizer of Va. white nationalist rally blames authorities for violence, report says
The man who organized the white nationalist rally that turned violent in Charlottesville says that law enforcement and government officials "failed to maintain law and order" on Saturday, according to WVIR-TV.
Jason Kessler organized the the "Unite the Right" rally to demonstrate against moving a statue of confederate general Robert e. Lee from a city park. The rally drew hundreds of counter protesters and led to multiple fights and at least 15 people were injured. A woman was killed and 19 were injured after a car drove through a crowd of people protesting the rally.
"The blame for today's violence is primarily the result of the Charlottesville government officials and the law enforcement officers which failed to maintain law and order by protecting the First Amendment rights of the participants of the 'Unite the Right' rally, Kessler said in a statement, according to Henry Graff of WVIR-TV.
Two Virginia State Police officers died in a helicopter crash outside of the Charlottesville city limits on their way to assist with efforts during today's rally.
More of Kessler's statement can be read below.
"We networked with law enforcement officials and safety arrangements were made months ago, but despite this, the Charlottesville Police Department not only failed to act per the plan but exacerbated violence," Kessler added.
The rally comes after a federal judge granted a temporary injunction allowing the gathering to be held.
Kessler is scheduled to give more remarks on the rally in a press conference at 2:00 p.m. Sunday.