Justice Department opens civil rights investigation into Charlottesville crash

Justice Department opens civil rights investigation into Charlottesville crash
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The Justice Department has opened up a federal investigation into the deadly events in at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday after a car plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters and left one dead.

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) SessionsFBI opens tip line requesting information on Charlottesville rally Sessions rails against Chicago during visit to Miami DOJ warrant of Trump resistance site triggers alarm MORE announced Saturday that a federal civil rights investigation into the incident had been opened.

“The violence and deaths in Charlottesville strike at the heart of American law and justice. When such actions arise from racial bigotry and hatred, they betray our core values and cannot be tolerated," Sessions said in a statement.

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"I have talked with FBI Director Chris Wray, FBI agents on the scene, and law enforcement officials for the state of Virginia. The FBI has been supporting state and local authorities throughout the day. U.S. Attorney Rick Mountcastle has commenced a federal investigation and will have the full support of the Department of Justice. Justice will prevail.”

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia and the Richmond Field Office of the FBI also issued a statement confirming the investigation.

"The Richmond FBI Field Office, the Civil Rights Division and the US Attorney's Office for the Western District of Virginia have opened a civil rights investigation into the circumstances of the deadly vehicular incident that occured earlier Saturday morning. The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence, and as this is an ongoing investigation we are not able to comment further at this time," the statement read.

A vehicle plowed through a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday after police broke up violent clashes between far-right groups and counter-demonstrators.

The University of Virginia Health System said 20 people were brought to the hospital Saturday afternoon after the car careened into a group of anti-fascist protesters near a popular pedestrian mall in the college town. One died and the rest were being assessed and treated for injuries.

Video posted on social media shows a car careening through the crowd as another vehicle rams into its rear bumper before backing away. In other photos and videos posted online Saturday, people can be seen being treated for injuries.