An Ohio man is suing white supremacists and neo-Nazi protesters in federal court, saying he was severely injured, suffered a concussion and his eye swelled shut during their rally in Virginia two years ago.
Bill Burke of Athens, Ohio, filed the lawsuit Friday in US District Court in Ohio and wants $3million for each charge made against the various defendants.
He says he was struck by the car driven by James Alex Fields Jr., that also killed counterprotester Heather Heyer during the August 2017 protest in Charlottesville, and claims the defendants even discussed online what weapons they could carry and whether it was legal to run over counter-protesters.
According to Burke, his physical injuries still require medical treatment and may be permanent, and he has experienced ‘severe psychological and emotional suffering.’
Bill Burke claimed in a Friday lawsuit that he was severely injured on his knee and arm, suffered a concussion and his eye swelled shut (right) in the August 2017 Charlottesville rally
People fly into the air as a vehicle is driven into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville
James Alex Fields Jr. Fields (left in a November 2018 court sketch and right)- the Unite the Right rally organizer who was convicted in the deadly car attack – is named in the lawsuit
‘He continues to suffer deep debilitating psychological and emotional distress that prevents him from resuming his former life,’ the lawsuit states. ‘The physical injuries he sustained … required and continue to require extensive and expensive medical treatment.’
In December, Fields was convicted of murder and other charges in state court, and pleaded guilty last month to federal hate crimes. He is awaiting sentencing.
Burke claims in the lawsuit that Fields wore a Vanguard America uniform and shield during the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally. The plaintiff accuses the white supremacist group of battery, assault and terrorism.
Burke also claims that someone he used to live with received threatening text messages from a number associated with the Honorable Sacred Knights – what he refers to as a parliamentary wing of the Ku Klux Klan – after he commented on an online post.
An exchange shows the person being told: ‘So maybe let him know he should just back off and stop spreading rumors.’ To which the receiver replies: ‘For commenting on a post? He didn’t post the information. I just told him, he just laughed.’
Burke says he has experienced ‘severe psychological and emotional suffering since that day
Charges include battery and assault after Burke was struck by James Alex Fields Jr. in car that also killed counterprotester Heather Heyer (pictured left and right) in August 2017
After stating that Burke doesn’t not live with the person any more, the person allegedly texting from the number connected to Honorable Sacred Knights then writes: ‘Probably best. You have a blessed day now.’
But after the person receiving the alleged threats said in the exchange to text Burke adding ‘if you knew him you would have his number’, the person replies: ‘Jusssr wanted him to know that we can get info too…
‘We have eyes everywhere. Let him know that we are your doctors lawyers police neighbors….We don’t do Jew social media. But we do see.’
The lawsuit names multiple other defendants from racist organizations, including president of Washington Summit Publishers and white supremacist think tank National Policy Institute, Richard Spencer, plus co-chair Nationalist Forum and leader of Traditionalist Worker Party, Matthew Heimbach.
The lawsuit states the physical injuries Burke (left and right) sustained ‘continue to require extensive and expensive medical treatment’
Burke claims in the lawsuit that Fields (second left) wore a Vanguard America uniform and shield during the Unite the Right rally, and accuses the group of battery, assault and terrorism
David Duke (former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan) and far-right publisher Augustus Sol Invictus -previously known as Austin Mitchell Gillespie and a headline speaker at the rally –are accused of civil conspiracy, inciting violence and soliciting or providing support for an act of terrorism.
Jason Kessler, who organized the rally as well as the one that followed a year later, is accused in the filing of having ‘negligently and recklessly incited, encouraged and participated in violent attacks’ along with the others.
The Daily Stormer website is also named in the lawsuit; specifically its founder Andrew Anglin and his father Gregory Anglin, as Burke accuses them of running a racketeer-influenced organization ‘to incite terroristic violence’. They are among several associated businesses based in the Worthington area accused by Burke.
‘They are neo-Nazis, Neo-Fascist, Klansmen, white supremacists and white nationalists,’ the suit states. ‘They embrace and espouse racist, anti-Semitic, sexist, homophobic and xenophobic ideologies.’
Burke used screenshots to support claims that he was threatened via text message that a group has ‘eyes everywhere’, claiming they’re his ‘doctors lawyers police neighbors’
Burke also claims that someone he used to live with received threatening text messages from a number associated with the Honorable Sacred Knights