The Latest: Mayor seeks urgent permission to remove statue
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — The Latest on developments related to a violent white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia (all times local):
The mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia, is calling on the governor to convene an emergency meeting of state lawmakers to allow the city to remove the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Mayor Mike Signer’s statement comes nearly a week after white supremacists descended on the city for a rally and clashed with counter protesters. One woman was killed on Saturday when a car plowed into a crowd of counter protesters.
News media outlets report that Signer says the attack turned the monuments from “equestrian statues into lightning rods.” He says the city must respond “by denying the Nazis and the KKK and the so-called alt-right the twisted totem they seek.”
Signer also wants lawmakers to pass legislation that would allow communities to bar people from carrying open or concealed weapons in public events “reasonably deemed to pose a potential security threat.”
The U.S. Conference of Mayors says more than 250 of its members have signed on to a compact designed to combat hate, extremism and bigotry.
The mayors announced the compact Friday on a conference call with the Anti-Defamation League, which is a partner in the effort.
The compact lists 10 components, including rejecting white supremacism and extremism, celebrating diversity, and ensuring public safety while protecting free speech.
During the call, Republican Mayor Shane Bemis of Gresham, Oregon, said the compact was needed because President Donald Trump failed to “exhibit moral clarity” when he blamed both sides for the violence last weekend in Charlottesville during clashes between white nationalists and counter protesters.
Columbia, South Carolina, Mayor Steve Benjamin cited the need “to create stronger cultures of kindness.”
The City of Manassas, Virginia, is canceling an upcoming Civil War Weekend, citing a desire not to exacerbate recent tension over Civil War monuments.
In a statement Friday, the city said that “recent events have ignited passions in this country surrounding the Civil War and the symbols representing it.”
As a result, the city said it is canceling its Civil War Weekend planned for Aug. 25-27 out of concern for the safety of residents, visitors and re-enactors.
Manassas spokeswoman Patty Prince said the city has hosted the weekend since 2011, when it was launched in connection with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. She said the weekend is one of the smaller events on the city’s tourism calendar.
The Manassas area was host to two major Civil War battles.
Hundreds of anti-racist demonstrators are marching through the streets of a North Carolina city in response to rumors of a white supremacist march.
The sheriff had issued a statement that he was investigating the rumors, but no gathering of white supremacists was apparent in the streets of Durham by midafternoon Friday. However, officers blocked streets and businesses closed.
Hundreds of others gathered downtown with signs such as “Black Lives Matter” and “We Will Not Be Intimidated.” They marched for several blocks and then held an impromptu rally in front of where a Confederate statue was toppled Monday. On Friday, protesters altered an inscription on the statue’s base that had read “In memory of the boys who wore the gray” with the phrase “Death to the Klan.”
The protest was largely peaceful, but two white men and some protesters engaged in a shouting match, and then the men entered a government building.
Willis Brown, who is black, said he came out to support racial unity. He said protesters are “trying to live in harmony.”
Four people have been charged with trying to rip away a plaque honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from its place of honor in a North Carolina city.
Asheville police said the arrests came after officers found a group of protesters around the plaque on the city’s main downtown plaza about 8 a.m. Friday. Photos show people using crowbars and an electric hand drill to yank away the top-right corner of the metal plaque from a granite boulder. The vandals failed to separate the rest of the plaque.
Police say the four Asheville residents charged with damage to real property are 27-year-old Nicole Townsend, 45-year-old Amy Cantrell, 30-year-old Hillary Brown and 34-year-old Adrienne Sigmon. Asheville Police spokeswoman Christina Hallingse said she did not know if any of them had obtained a lawyer.
Hundreds of mourners have arrived for the funeral of a Virginia state trooper who died in a helicopter crash after monitoring a white nationalist protest in Charlottesville.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe and others who gathered at St. Paul’s Baptist Church in Richmond on Friday praised Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates as a devoted family man and proud police officer. McAuliffe told colorful stories of Bates from his time spent on the governor’s protective unit.
Authorities say Bates was a passenger in a helicopter providing video to police of activities in downtown Charlottesville last Saturday before it broke off to lend support to a motorcade for the governor.
Bates had recently gotten his pilot’s license so that he could apply to work for the department’s aviation unit. He joined the unit only last month.
The mayor of the Virginia city rocked by a deadly white nationalist rally over a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee has canceled a scheduled news conference about the monument’s future.
Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer’s office said Friday that he would no longer be making a previously scheduled “major announcement” about the Lee statue. Signer’s office said the mayor would hold public events in the future to discuss public safety and the “legacy of Heather Heyer,” the woman who was killed after a car rammed into a group of people protesting against white supremacists last Saturday. Signer’s office said Friday morning that the governor would release a statement later in the day.
Crime novelist and Charlottesville, Virginia-area resident John Grisham is condemning the white nationalists who descended upon the city for a rally that turned deadly.
Grisham writes in a column published by Time that the neo-Nazis, skinheads, Ku Klux Klan members and others came to Charlottesville last Saturday to “provoke violence and get attention.”
Grisham says the city has proved that “silence is not an option” in the “face of intimidation and hate.”
Grisham says that Charlottesville’s streets are quiet again and physical wounds are healing, but “emotional wounds will take longer.”
One woman was killed and 19 were injured on Saturday when a car plowed into a crowd of people who gathered to condemn what is believed to be the largest gathering of white nationalists in a decade.
Faculty members at a college in South Carolina want their president to repudiate a Confederate flag event planned at the school in October.
The Post and Courier of Charleston reported the history department at the College of Charleston has asked school president Glenn McConnell to ban events planned by the South Carolina Secessionist Party on campus.
McConnell is a former state Senate leader and lieutenant governor who formerly owned a Confederate memorabilia shop.
The South Carolina Secessionist Party plans to display Confederate battle flags on campus Oct. 28.
McConnell has mostly avoided discussing the Civil War since becoming college president in 2014. A college spokesman said McConnell had no comment.
The faculty said the event is designed to intimidate students, staff and faculty. Secessionist Party founder James Bessenger denies that.
Information from: The Post and Courier, http://www.postandcourier.com
As cities across the country tear down statues of Confederate leaders, a new Confederate monument is slated to be unveiled in Alabama.
Jimmy Hill is commander of the Alabama division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He tells AL.com that the memorial to “unknown Confederate soldiers” will be unveiled at 2 p.m. on Aug. 27 in a Confederate memorial park about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Montgomery in an unincorporated area of Crenshaw County. He says the unveiling is open to the public.
Dedicated in May 2015, the memorial park is open to the public, though it’s located on private land owned by Sons of Confederate Veterans member David Coggins.
Hill says the date of the unveiling was selected five months ago.
The mother of a woman who was killed while protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, says she won’t talk to President Donald Trump because of comments he made after her daughter’s death.
Speaking Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Susan Bro said she initially missed the first few calls to her from the White House. But she now says she won’t talk to the president after a news conference in which Trump equated violence by white supremacists at the rally with violence by those protesting the rally.
Bro’s daughter, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, was killed and 19 others were injured when a driver rammed a car into a crowd of demonstrators last Saturday. An Ohio man, James Alex Fields Jr., has been arrested and charged with murder and other offenses.
Associated Press writers Jonathan Drew in Durham, North Carolina; Alan Suderman in Richmond, Virginia.