Man accused of driving car had racist rally sign

James Alex Fields, Jr. (Photo: Albemarle Charlottesville Regional County Jail)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - The man accused of ramming a car into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville was photographed that morning holding a shield with the emblem of a white supremacist group.

Vanguard America denies that James Alex Fields Jr. is a member of its group and says it handed out shields to anyone in attendance who wanted them. The Anti-Defamation League says Vanguard America believes the U.S. is an exclusively white nation, and uses propaganda to recruit young white men online and on college campuses. Vanguard America confirmed via Twitter account that members were in Charlottesville on Saturday morning, part of what's believed to be the largest group of white nationalists to come together in a decade, to rally against plans to remove a Confederate statue. Hundreds of others came to protest against the racism.

In the photo, taken by the New York Daily News , Fields stands with a handful of men, all dressed similarly in the usual Vanguard America uniform of khakis and white polo shirts. The men hold white shields with a black-and-white logo of two axes. The Confederate statue of Robert E. Lee is in the background. The Daily News says the photo was taken about 10:30 a.m. Charlottesville officials say the car crashed into the crowd, killing one, at 1:42 p.m.

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