The Legal Case Against the Nazis You Probably Haven’t Heard Of – Yet

By Amy Spitalnick, Executive Director, Integrity First for America

In August 2017, hundreds of violent white supremacists and neo-Nazis stormed Charlottesville, Virginia for the so-called “Unite the Right” rally. We all know what happened next: while carrying swastikas and other hate symbols, and chanting “Jews will not replace us” and “white lives matter,” they murdered Heather Heyer and injured countless others.

This violence wasn’t spontaneous. It had been meticulously planned for months in advance online, where these violent extremists discussed which weapons to bring and how to plow down peaceful protesters with cars.

While Charlottesville was a flashpoint, it wasn’t an isolated incident. You only need to look to Poway, Pittsburgh, or Charleston to understand the extent of this crisis.

And while Charlottesville was a flashpoint, it wasn’t an isolated incident. You only need to look to Poway, Pittsburgh, or Charleston to understand the extent of this crisis.

These violent white nationalists are finding each other online and, emboldened by certain political leaders and fueled by hate, murdering people on our streets and in our houses of worship. Right-wing extremists killed more people in the U.S. last year than any year since 1995, the year Timothy McVeigh bombed Oklahoma City.

Right-wing extremists killed more people in the U.S. last year than any year since 1995, the year Timothy McVeigh bombed Oklahoma City.

This crisis is particularly pronounced in our religious communities, as these terrorists target synagogues, African American churches, mosques, and Sikh temples. In Charlottesville, these neo-Nazis and white supremacists threatened both the local synagogue and an interfaith gathering — carrying semiautomatic rifles and torches, and shouting “sieg heil.”

Yet, instead of confronting this threat head on, the federal government appears to be gutting the infrastructure it has to address it. The Department of Homeland Security has disbanded its domestic terror intelligence unit. Department of Justice civil rights investigations are down 60 percent since the end of the Obama Administration. It’s clear that our federal government is not going to act.

So we are. And we need your help.

Integrity First for America – working with top litigators Roberta Kaplan and Karen Dunn – is backing a landmark lawsuit against the two dozen white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and hate groups responsible for the violence in Charlottesville.

Our plaintiffs are 10 Charlottesville community members injured in the violence, including a local reverend, University of Virginia students, and a couple injured in the car attack.

Our defendants comprise a who’s who of the leadership of the neo-Nazi and white supremacist movement: Richard Spencer, Jason Kessler, Christopher Cantwell, Andrew Anglin, Identity Evropa, Vanguard America, and many more.

We’re suing under the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 (a statute meant to protect against racially-motivated violence) and other civil rights laws. And we’re winning: the court has rejected the defendants’ various attempts to block the suit. Trial is expected within the year, likely in early 2020.

While our suit is about holding these Nazis and white supremacists responsible for their actions, it’s also the only current effort to use our justice system to take on the leadership of the violent white nationalist movement.

While our suit is about holding these Nazis and white supremacists responsible for their actions, it’s also the only current effort to use our justice system to take on the leadership of the violent white nationalist movement.

The defendants in our suit are at the center of this network of hate: it’s no surprise that the Pittsburgh shooter communicated with some of our defendants on Gab, before he murdered 11 congregants in synagogue last October; or that a “white power” symbol popularized by one of our defendants was used by the Christchurch attacker and found at the scene of the Highlander Center fire.

This suit has the potential to uncover who is funding this violent movement — and dismantle it. Perhaps most importantly, it sends a clear message that this conduct has no place in America.

We are facing a crisis of violent extremism. It’s going to take an all-levers approach to begin to tackle it. But we can’t do it alone.

We need faith leaders of all backgrounds to come together and support this work. This isn’t just a moral obligation for those of us who care about future of this country. It’s also critical to protecting our communities from this scourge of violent hate.

We need faith leaders of all backgrounds to come together and support this work. This isn’t just a moral obligation for those of us who care about future of this country. It’s also critical to protecting our communities from this scourge of violent hate.

So, please, consider supporting our plaintiffs by signing up at www.integrityfirstforamerica.org; spreading the word to your congregants and community; and reaching out to us at [email protected] if you’re interested in partnering.

Together, we can secure justice for the Charlottesville victims – and help dismantle the leadership of this vile, bigoted, violent movement.

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