Latest: Donald Trump says 'racism is evil'; Charlottesville car death suspect denied bail

Latest: Donald Trump says 'racism is evil'; Charlottesville car death suspect denied bail
A photo of victim Heather Heyer sits beneath a statue depicting a Confederate soldier in Piedmont Park in Atlanta that was vandalized with spray paint from protesters who marched through the city last night to protest the weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Update 6.17pm The man accused of ramming his car into a crowd of counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally in Virginia has been denied bail after the public defender's office said it could not represent him and the judge was forced to find a local attorney to fill in.

James Alex Fields Jr, 20, appeared in court via video link dressed in a black-and-white striped uniform. He has been charged with offences including second-degree murder.

James Alex Fields.
James Alex Fields.

He answered questions from the judge with simple responses of "Yes, sir" when asked if he understood what he was being told.

Fields replied "No, sir" when asked if he had ties to the community of Charlottesville.

Judge Robert Downer set an August 25 hearing for the 20-year-old Fields.

Judge Downer said the public defenders' office informed him it could not represent Fields because a relative of someone in the office was injured in Saturday's protest.

He appointed local attorney Charles Weber to represent him.

Fields is charged in the death of Heather Heyer, 32, of Charlottesville, who died after a car that police said Fields was driving slammed into a crowd of people protesting against the nationalist rally in Charlottesville on Saturday.

A photo of victim Heather Heyer sits beneath a statue depicting a Confederate soldier in Piedmont Park in Atlanta that was vandalized with spray paint from protesters who marched through the city last night to protest the weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
A photo of victim Heather Heyer sits beneath a statue depicting a Confederate soldier in Piedmont Park in Atlanta that was vandalized with spray paint from protesters who marched through the city last night to protest the weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Fields was arrested shortly afterwards and taken into custody.

Police allege Fields drove his silver Dodge Challenger through a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, killing Heyer and wounding 19 other people.

A Virginia State Police helicopter deployed in a large-scale police response to the violence then crashed into the woods outside of town and both troopers on board died.

Fields had been photographed hours earlier with a shield bearing the emblem of Vanguard America, one of the hate groups that took part in the "take America back" campaign to protest the removal of a Confederate statue.

The group has denied any association with the suspect.

Update 5.53pm: US president Donald Trump has condemned the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists as "criminals and thugs", saying: "Racism is evil."

It follows pressure from within the Republican party, after the president did not condemn the far right protests in Charlottesville during which a woman was killed.

Previously the President appeared to blame "all sides" for the violence.

In those remarks, he did not single out white supremacists or any other hate group, even as senior Republicans and others in the White House condemned them by name.

However, this evening he has named names, saying: "Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-nazis, white supremacists and other hagte groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans."

Latest: Donald Trump says 'racism is evil'; Charlottesville car death suspect denied bail

Mr Trump spoke in the White House after meeting US attorney general Jeff Sessions and FBI director Christopher Wray about the racially-charged violence on Saturday.

Mr Trump described the hate groups as "repugnant" and also used his remarks to call for unity.

"We must love each other, show affection for each other and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry and violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans," he said.

His attorney general, Jeff Sessions, said earlier that the violence in which a car ploughed into a group of counter-protesters, killing one person, "does meet the definition of domestic terrorism in our statute".

He told ABC's Good Morning America: "You can be sure we will charge and advance the investigation towards the most serious charges that can be brought, because this is an unequivocally unacceptable and evil attack that cannot be accepted in America."

Mr Sessions said he expects to hear more from Mr Trump on the matter after meeting with him, as well as officials from the FBI. The president added the late-morning meeting with Mr Sessions and FBI director Christopher Wray to his Monday schedule.

"We will not allow these extremist groups to obtain credibility," Mr Sessions told TV show CBS This Morning.

In the hours after the incident on Saturday, Mr Trump addressed the violence in broad strokes, saying that he condemns "in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides".

Earlier: A prominent US white nationalist website which promoted a Virginia rally that ended in deadly violence on Saturday has lost its internet domain host.

GoDaddy tweeted on Sunday night that it had given the Daily Stormer 24 hours to move its domain to another provider because the site violates GoDaddy's terms of service.

GoDaddy spokesman Dan Race told the New York Daily News that the Daily Stormer violated its terms of service by labelling a woman killed in an attack at the event in Charlottesville "fat" and "childless".

Heather Heyer died on Saturday when a man ploughed his car into a group of demonstrators protesting against the white nationalist rally.

Shortly after GoDaddy tweeted its decision, the site posted an article claiming it had been hacked and would be shut down.

Elsewhere, Donald Trump has lashed out at a pharmaceutical boss who has attacked the US President for not taking a bigger stand against intolerance and extremism.

Kenneth Frazier, who is the CEO of Merck, has quit an advisory panel and criticised a racist protest in Virginia over the weekend, which left a woman dead.

Kenneth Frazier.
Kenneth Frazier.

The chief executive of America's third-largest pharmaceutical company quit the role citing "a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism".

The US President has tweeted how Mr Frazier will now have more time to "lower rip-off drug prices".

Drug makers have come under closer scrutiny because of rising drug prices, although Merck has not been one of the companies targeted by politicians or watchdogs.

Mr Frazier said in a tweet on Monday that the country's leaders must "honour our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy".

One person was killed in the Virginia protests after a car slammed into a crowd. Multiple people were injured in that incident and in in running clashes between white supremacists and groups opposing them.

Other executives who agreed to serve on councils advising the president have already resigned, citing separate stances taken by the Trump administration.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk resigned from the manufacturing council in June, as well as two other advisory groups to the president, after the US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement.

Walt Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger also resigned from a White House advisory council for the same reason.

AP

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