Charlottesville: Race and Terror – VICE News Tonight on HBO (Youtube/Vice)

VICE's Charlottesville documentary on Trump's "fine people" will terrify you

"Charlottesville: Race and Terror" shows the verbal and physical violence of Charlottesville's white supremacists


Rachel Leah
August 16, 2017 3:55PM (UTC)

For anyone, including President Donald Trump, who thinks there are two legitimate sides to the Charlottesville riots or "fine people" attempting to preserve history mixed amongst the white supremacists who marched in that Virginia city this weekend, VICE has a rather ugly wakeup call.

VICE News' "Charlottesville: Race and Terror" episode opens with images from the white nationalist protest on Friday in Charlottesville. Red-faced white men hold Tiki torches ablaze and chant "white lives matter," "Jews will not replace us," and "blood and soil."

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Counter-protestors meet them at the Gen. Robert E. Lee statue, which Trump claimed was the sole reason for the alt-right protest. Police stand back, people are maced. When a VICE reporter asks white supremacist and speaker of "Unite the Right," Christopher Cantwell, who he was maced by, he responds, "by Commies."

"I'm here to spread ideas, talk," Cantwell says, "in hopes that somebody more capable will come along and do that, somebody like Donald Trump who does not give his daughter to a Jew."

"So, Donald Trump, but like, more racist?" VICE's reporter questions. "A lot more racist than Donald Trump," Cantwell responds. "I don't think that you could feel about race the way I do and watch that Kushner bastard walk around with that beautiful girl, okay?"

Video from Saturday's protests show Black Lives Matter and anti-facist protestors with backpacks and signs. The white supremacists facing off against them pack helmets, shields and blunt weapons. After authorities force the crowd to disperse by police and declare a state of emergency, Cantwell says, "We're here obeying the law," he continues, "and the criminals are over there getting their way."

"So you're the true nonviolent protestors?" the reporter asks. "We're not nonviolent, we'll fuckin' kill people if we have to." Soon, Cantwell's pledge becomes chilling and devastatingly prescient.

Horrifying footage shows a car ramming through counter-protestors, bodies flying and then bodies on the ground. "We got hit by a car," one woman screams in disbelief. VICE's reporter on the scene seems quietly devastated as she talks to the medic who tried, and failed, to save Heather Heyer's life.

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In a final interview with Cantwell after the weekend's riots end, he says, "We knew that we were going to meet a lot of resistance. The fact that nobody on our side died, I'd go ahead and call that points for us." He sits next to a bed strewn with no less than four firearms he packed for the protests.

Of Heyer's death, Cantwell says "I think it was more than justified," he says. "I think a lot more people are going to die before we're done here, frankly."

As frightening as the weekend's violence was, local activist Tanesha Hudson doesn't find it shocking, especially for black people who live in Charlottesville. "This is what we deal with everyday being African-American," she said, "and this has always been the reality of Charlottesville."


Rachel Leah

Rachel Leah is a culture writer for Salon. You can follow her on Twitter: @rachelkleah.

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