ROANOKE RAPIDS, N.C. (WNCN) — Roanoke Rapids police posted a response on Facebook to a VICE News report on white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia, one of whom was filmed in a Roanoke Rapids hotel following the violent protests in the town last weekend.
VICE News reporter Elle Reeve went to Charlottesville to file a story on the white nationalists and neo-Nazis who were in the college town for a “Unite the Right” rally the weekend of Aug. 11. Reeve and a documentary crew followed around white nationalist leader Christopher Cantwell during the rally and the violence that occurred as a result of it.
Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old Charlottesville resident who joined with hundreds of others to protest the rally, was killed after being run down by a car driven by James Alex Fields Jr., 20, according to authorities. At least 19 others were injured when, authorities say, Fields drove his car through a crowd of the protesters before he reversed his car up the street and fled the scene.
Fields has been charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, and hit-and-run.
Following the violence in Charlottesville, Reeve spoke with Cantwell in his Roanoke Rapids hotel room the next night about what had happened during that weekend’s events.
“The fact that nobody on our side died, I’d call that points for us,” Cantwell said to Reeve in his hotel room. “The fact that none of our people killed anyone unjustly, I think, is a plus for us.”
Reeve asked Cantwell what he meant by “unjustly.”
“Sadly, because our rivals are a bunch of stupid animals who don’t pay attention, they couldn’t just get out of the way of his car and some people got hurt, and that’s unfortunate,” he said. “I think it was more than justified. The amount of restraint our people showed out there…was astounding.”
Roanoke Rapids police were alerted to Cantwell’s presence at the hotel on late on Monday, the night after Cantwell was filmed there, the Roanoke Rapids Police Department’s Facebook post says.
VICE has reported that felony warrants have been issued in Virginia for Cantwell’s arrest.
“Roanoke Rapids Police Department along with the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office and Weldon Police Department followed up on the information that…was received [and] found that Mr. Cantwell had checked out of the hotel and was no longer in the area,” the post says.
Social media reports have stated that a similar rally to Charlottesville will be held in Roanoke Rapids or Halifax County, but authorities across the city and county denied those reports in the Facebook post.
“The City of Roanoke Rapids has not received any request/special use permit for any type of rally or protest/march or has approved any,” the police department said in the post.
“While we respect people’s constitutional right to peacefully assemble, that doesn’t mean we support or condone violence. There’s no place for racism, bigotry, and hatred in Roanoke Rapids and we rebuke any attempt to bring it in to our community,” the post reads.
Halifax County Sheriff Wes Tripp said he would not approve any such permit.
“I have not had any type of permit/request submitted for any type of rally or arch…nor will I sign/approve one,” he said in the post.
You can read the police department’s full post below: