Fields sentenced to life in prison

Today in Security: Man Behind Car Attack at Rally Sentenced to Life in Prison

A U.S. district court sentenced the Ohio man who drove into a crowd of counter-protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017 to life in prison.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), James Alex Fields Jr. previously plead guilty to the attack, which included 29 violations of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

"Hatred and bigotry have no place in our nation," Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband said in a DOJ press release. "Violent actions inspired by such warped thinking are a disgrace to our people and our values, and the Department of Justice will not tolerate such depraved acts."

On 12 August 2017, Fields drove his car into counter-protestors at the "Unite the Right Rally," ultimately killing one woman, Heather Heyer, and injuring more than 30 others. (United States of America v. James Alex Fields Jr., U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, No. 3:18cr00011, 2019)

In the past few years, the industry has seen and responded to an increasing focus on soft target environments—areas where protestors often gather, such as parks and open venues—as well as other locations where hate crimes have occurred. If you're working this holiday in a soft target environment, ASIS International has various resources, including articles, white papers, podcasts, webinars, and even recorded conference sessions on protecting people and resources at such locations. A few of these resources can be accessed through the links below, however, many more can be found throughout the ASIS International website.