January 17, 2018

Charlottesville is Still Putting People on the White Power Chopping Block

KKK Imperial Wizard Richard Preston, who once tried and failed to hold a Klan rally in Philly, fires at a Unite the Right rally counterprotester. Photo: ACLU

At least one old friend got himself on the Chopping Block, and he had company. 

In the two weeks since the events that took place during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, neo-Fascists have been reeling from the backlash that followed, which included public doxxing that has led to many who attended the rally losing their jobs and getting disowned by their families, and the most surprising move being Stormfront.org, the first and longest running neo-Nazi website being shutdown by its domain registrar for “displaying bigotry, discrimination or hatred”, one week after another popular Nazi website, the Daily Stormer was removed from the public internet for its involvement in the rally. There has also been cancellations of far right rallies across the country, and those that have went on such as last weekend in Boston and this weekend in Berkeley, California, saw massive opposition. Meanwhile, the public identifying of those that have been involved in the violence in Charlottesville is resulting in arrests.

Richard Wilson Preston, 52, the Imperial Wizard of the Maryland-based Confederate White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan  was arrested Saturday in Maryland and charged with discharging a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school. The incident was captured on video as Preston, who supporters say he was shooting at a protester with a “flamethrower”, shouted “Hey, nigger!” before firing off a round, causing some of the crowd to scatter. An earlier released photo showed a Black man using an aerosol can to spark a flame, seemingly in an effort to keep Unite the Right participants from attacking him.

In June 2014, Preston, who has often been seen on television, attempted to hold a clandestine rally in the Philadelphia neighborhood Tacony, but the community was tipped off and he and his fellow Klansmen were forced to leave when they came out to oppose them. He is currently being extradited to Virginia to face the charges from Charlottesville.

Two others were arrested for their role in the attack on Black counterprotester Deandre Harris which was captured on video and went viral on social media. Daniel Borden, 18, of Cincinnati, Ohio was arrested and charged with malicious wounding while Michael Alex Ramos, 33, last of Marietta, Georgia, is also charged with malicious wounding, but he has not yet been arrested.

According to reports, Ramos has been associated with the so-called “Patriot” movement, as evidenced by photos, as well as the neo-Fascist Proud Boys, who’s founder Gavin McInnes has been attempting to distance himself and his organization from the Unite the Right rally, saying the event was “disavowed”.

Ramos was also captured on video with another neo-Fascist pepper spraying in the air over a crowd of counterprotesters. It is not known if this will be included in the charges he faces.

While most, if not all of the Charlottesville arrests have been of neo-Fascist attendees, many community members have expressed anger at the city for not responding to the rally properly. When the video of Preston shooting into a crowd came to light, many were particularly angry at the inaction, some recalling how in recent years 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed by Cleveland, OH police and as he played with a toy gun and 22-year-old John Crawford was killed in a Beavercreek, OH Walmart while holding a toy BB gun sold at the store while a Klansman was able to walk away from the scene without police intervention, despite firing. Both Rice and Crawford were Black.

Others that have been arrested for their actions in Charlottesville were Christopher Cantwell, for illegal use of gasses and injury by caustic agent or explosive, and most notably James Fields for second degree murder after driving his car into a crowd of people, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

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