More than a year after the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, four attendees have been arrested and charged with conspiracy for traveling to Virginia with the intent of promoting and committing violent acts in “furtherance of a riot,” federal officials in the state announced Tuesday.
JUST IN: Federal authorities announce arrest of four members of white supremacist group "for committing various acts of violence" at Charlottesville rally. https://t.co/1FJvcHGjUZ pic.twitter.com/RUPFm5r3r9— ABC News (@ABC) October 2, 2018
The arrestees were Cole Evan White, Benjamin Drake Daley, Michael Paul Miselis, and Thomas Walter Gillen, all from Southern California. According to the charging documents, the four were members of the “Rise Above Movement,” an alt-right “fight club” of sorts, and had taken part in violent attacks on counterprotesters at Charlottesville. The government asserts that the four traveled from California to Virginia “with intent to incite a riot.”
According to ProPublica, which reported extensively on the RAM and its involvement in the violence at Charlottesville:
The group, based in Southern California, claims more than 50 members and a singular purpose: physically attacking its ideological foes. RAM’s members spend weekends training in boxing and other martial arts, and they have boasted publicly of their violence during protests in Huntington Beach, San Bernardino and Berkeley. Many of the altercations have been captured on video, and its members are not hard to spot.
In July 2018, ProPublica tweeted a video featuring Ben Daley punching a counterprotester at an alt-right rally in Berkeley. Daley also assaulted a reporter for Mother Jones at that same rally.
3/ We identified several RAM members who turned up in Charlottesville and California and attacked counter-protesters—like Ben Daley.— ProPublica (@ProPublica) July 25, 2018
Here he is punching a counter-protester at an alt-right rally in Berkeley in April 2017.https://t.co/6G2BDcTHXl pic.twitter.com/f4j8kNhH26
ProPublica also identified Miselis as having taken part in the Unite the Right rally, including committing violence against protesters and passersby. Miselis, then working as a systems engineer at Northrup Grumman, lost his job at the defense contractor following ProPublica’s reporting.
The arrests come more than a year after the alt-right and white nationalist-led rally erupted in violence, ending in the death of a young counterprotester named Heather Heyer.
Heyer’s killer, James A. Fields Jr., who drove his car into a crowd of counterdemonstrators at Unite the Right and injured more than a dozen other people, was indicted at the state level on 10 felony counts, including first-degree murder, in December 2017, and this past June, he was indicted on federal hate crime charges.
Read the charging documents for White, Daley, Miselis, and Gillen here: