Centerville PD ‘looking into’ 3 men said to be at Charlottesville rally

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Local reactions to Charlottesville events

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Three men accused on social media of attending the white supremacy “Unite the Right” event in Charlottesville, Virginia, no longer live in Centerville, a spokesman for the city’s police department told this newspaper.

The three men have ties to the Dayton suburb, but no longer live in Centerville, despite the social media reports stating otherwise, said Officer John Davis, the Centerville Police Department community relations officer.

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One of the three men with Centerville ties also has connections to Mason, but no longer lives there, said Mason Police Department Lt. Jeff Burson. A Mason City Schools spokeswoman said the man attended Mason High School, but did not graduate from there.

Davis said the department is trying to be proactive against “a potential problem.” None of the men face criminal charges, he said.

“We’re aware of the reports, and we’re looking into how they might affect the different jurisdictions,” Davis said. “If somebody’s looking for them, there could be a potential problem.”

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The “Unite the Right” rally was held by white nationalists and others who oppose a plan to remove from a Charlottesville park of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

The identities of the three men have been discussed widely in social media as part of a national effort to identify individuals who participated in the white-supremacist gathering. The event resulted in widespread fights in downtown Charlottesville between participants and counter-protesters. Two Virginia highway patrol officers died when their helicopter crashed after the event.

News of the southwest Ohio connections quickly spread online, and local officials sought to distance themselves from their reported actions.

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“It is hard to reconcile that several Ohioans appear to have been part of the horrific violence that occurred in Charlottesville over the weekend,” said Tracey Carson, a Mason City Schools spokeswoman. “Our students and their families deserve to know that we are allies in the fight against bigotry.”

Attempts to reach the men were unsuccessful.

A judge on Monday denied bond for another Ohio man accused of plowing his car into a crowd in Charlottesville. Judge Robert Downer said during a bond hearing he would appoint a lawyer for James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Maumee, Ohio, near Toledo. One woman was killed after being struck by the car.

The Associated Press contributed reporting.