A provisional memorial on the street where Heather Heyer was killed when a car collapsed into a crowd during a…
Debbie Elliott / NPR
The jury election begins today in the trial of the man accused of ramming his car through a crowd protesting against a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. James Alex Fields, Jr. is accused of first-degree murder at the death of Heather Heyer, and faces additional charges for harmful wounds.
One of the wounded was Star Peterson. When the Unite the Right rally broke out on August 12, 2017, Peterson was a multicultural group against protesters who marched the center. She did not see the gray Dodge Challenger who came from behind and accelerated down on a hill on a narrow one-way street.
“I only heard three strokes,” she reminds. “Two of them were his left tire that crossed my leg.”
Debbie Elliott / NPR
Sporting neon-pink tail t-shirts and a black life t-shirt, 38-year-old Peterson now uses a stick to go. She has had five operations and has not been able to go back to work because of the severity of her injuries.
“He broke both legs, two parts of my backbone and one back and then [I] also had a fairly big laceration that had to be sewn up,” she says.
Peterson plans to testify at trial.
“I need to do something for Heather other than just putting flowers in the grave and if I can be involved in prosecuting the person who killed her then there’s something I can do for her memory,” said Peterson.
The authorities say Fields, a 21-year-old white man from Ohio, deliberately plowed his car in the anti-racial demonstration, saying that the court should see my daughter die again. He had previously participated in the rally with chants promoting white supremacy.
Fields has pleaded not guilty. His appointed defense attorney Denise Lunsford declined to comment on the case.
Lunsford has tried to bring the trial moved outside Charlottesville and argues the impact of the event on locals and extensive publicity will prevent Fields from getting a fair and fair trial.
Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Richard E. Moore has taken the defense’s movement for a change of the arena under counseling. He says that if an impartial jury can not be found from the 360-degree jury, he will see the case.
Important evidence from prosecutors will contain graphic videos that are shared on social media by witnesses.
“I feel like the court will see my daughter die again, over and over again,” said Susan Bro, Heather Heyer’s mother.
She’s ready to get the trial over and hope to choose a jury will not show be a problem.
“I want them to have a fair and impartial trial,” she says. “I do not want to do this 15 times.”
She says she feels that the process can go on for years if there are appeals. But whatever happens, she wants to see the matter through.
“I’ve never hated Mr. Fields because I felt like he is now right for justice now, “says Bro.” But I pray for justice here. “
The wider society is also looking for justice when it aims to reconcile the forces that made Charlottesville Stringography for Race Streaks.
“Where We Go From Here I Do not Know I Do not Know,” Don Gathers, co-founder of the local chapter Black Life Matter.
Debbie Elliott / NPR
“We need to find out how to make Charlottesville more than just a hash-tag again, and more than just a glimpse of the racist history in this country,” he says.
Collectors have served on several citizen advisory panels – including the city’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Memorials and Public spaces.
He says there has been a wake up that this is the focus of a new civil struggle.
“We have reached a point now that we must stop conversations about race and start talking about the real elephant in space that is racism.”
Addressing Systemic Racism is a goal of the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation. It was raised over one million dollars for the Heal Charlottesville Foundation.
“Part of what we heard from our society needed for healing was opportunity to act, opportunities to really be good and honest about our collective history,” says the Foundation President Brennan Gould. “And also to start acting in ways that come to help address the effects of that story. “
The Foundation has funded an initiative to increase teacher differences, for example, and improve security in the Jewish community. Gould says the ongoing focus is to help injured survivors with countless needs, including rental, utilities, medical bills and counseling.
“It seemed as though the world had gone in a way,” she says. “And yet people still lived a lot and managed the consequences of the tragedy.”
A way the fund helps survivors is through a contribution to social worker Matthew Christensen at the Mental Health Partner. He serves as a navigator and helps people to deal with things like disability or accommodation.
“It’s a lot what they need,” says Christensen.
Right now, they need help in coping with the trial, which he says can be traumatic. But Christensen says that the trial itself is an opportunity for accountability.
“For the perpetrator to face real consequences for something that people are fighting for – not seeing the organizers like Jason Kessler or Richard Spencer face real consequences legally to organize this rally.”
Four rally participants have been sentenced in In connection with the violence, however, rally organizers have not been subjected to any crime. The organizers are facing a civil trial, however, carried by Charlottesville residents according to the Ku Klux Clan Act from 1871.
Survivor Star Peterson is facing his testimony in Field’s trial. But she thinks justice will be difficult.
“It can not really be fair,” says Peterson. “We can not regret what has been done. We can not take Heather back.”
If they were convicted of Virginia charges, Fields could be sentenced to jail.
He has also been charged with federal hatred charges that allow death penalty.