In the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend, the Illinois Senate approved a measure that would allow law enforcement to label White Nationalist and Neo-Nazi organizations as terrorists. The resolution stated that the far right organizations were accelerating their activities in an attempt to further divide America and promote hate.
State Senator Don Harmon and the sponsor of the bill stated, “It is vital that we stand in total opposition to the hatred, bigotry and violence displayed by the white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups in Charlottesville this past weekend”. The Democrat Senator continued, “They are the heirs to the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazis. We fought two bloody wars in opposition to their ideologies. We must continue to fight those same twisted ideologies today”.
With the resolution being passed, the Senate plans on sending a copy of the bill to President Trump, members of Congress and Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. Governor Rauner was forced to clarify his position after a car driven by James Alex Fields, Jr raced down a street aimed towards anti-fascist protesters, hitting and killing 32 year old Heather Heyer and injuring several others. At first he stated “What doesn’t matter is definitions”, but later claimed after receiving criticism for his remarks, “The deadly violence in Charlottesville this weekend is abhorrent and absolutely an act of domestic terrorism.“
The new resolution encourages law enforcement in Illinois to “pursue the criminal elements of these domestic terrorist organizations in the same manner and with the same fervor used to protect the United States from other manifestations of terrorism.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Justice Department have launched an investigation into the deadly crash. They will determine the motive of Field’s Jr., the driver of the car to determine if there is enough evidence to bring federal charges, possibly hate crime charges.