UK

Charlottesville Protests Leads To Mother Fundraising To Pay Her Daughter's Medical Bills

'What she was doing was brave and good and you can be very proud of her.'

14/08/2017 10:30 BST

The mother of a woman who suffered skull fractures during a counter-protest against a white supremacy rally in the US over the weekend that left one dead has raised more than £60,000 to pay her medical bills.

On Sunday the mother of Natalie Romero launched a Gofundme page to help pay for her medical expenses after she was struck by a car driven into protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday.

As of Monday morning, $83,750 (£64418.12) had been raised.

The page, started by Erika Chaves, details how her 20-year-old daughter was one of more than a dozen people struck.  

“She’s in the hospital and we really will appriecate (sic) any help for the hospitals expences (sic). Natalie does not have health insurance at this time and has sustained skull fractures among other injuries from the attack. Thank you and God bless you,” Chaves wrote. 

Gofundme/Ericka Chaves
A picture of Natalie Romera receiving treatment after a car was driven into protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia

Commenting on the page, Jeanine Bordeau wrote, “I was with your daughter on this march; right behind her”.

She continued: “I am so sorry this has happened to you and your family. What she was doing was brave and good and you can be very proud of her.

“I stayed with her until help came to transport her to the hospital, along with another. We all care very much what you are going through and our prayers are with you. Please contact me if there is something I can do here locally. She is strong and I pray she is going to be okay.”

Nitasha Lynn Washburn-Abrego added: “Sending love, strength, healing, and positive energy. Thank you for raising such a brave, courageous, fearless, selfless, intelligent, beautiful daughter. Salute to you Mom!! #Respect ** All these insensitive insurance comments, especially by white folks, is entitled, uncalled for and I’m sure unwanted. This is definitely not the time or place to make such extremely judgmental, rude comments. Show some respect.”

Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when the car was driven into protesters and 19 others were injured. Another 15 people were wounded in separate clashes related to the march and two state troopers died when their helicopter crashed while responding to the situation.  

James Fields, of Maumee, Ohio, has been charged with Heyer’s murder. On Sunday photographs taken earlier on Saturday surfaced that showed the 20-year-old reportedly standing with a neo-Nazi group and holding a shield emblazoned with a far-right emblem.

Meanwhile, Mike Pence and the White House have scrambled to defend Donald Trump after the president failed to specifically condemn white supremacists following violence at the far-right rally.

Trump sparked criticism and fury from politicians across the spectrum when he condemned hatred and violence “on many sides” while speaking about the unrest, but failed to single out the white supremacists or the neo-Nazis who brought torches and bats to the rally. 

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
US Vice President Mike Pence has defended Donald Trump's response to the violence

Speaking last night, vice president Pence praised Trump’s response to the emergency, saying he had “clearly and unambiguously” condemned the violence. 

“We have no tolerance for hate and violence, white supremacists or neo-Nazis or the KKK,” Pence said according to The Hill

He then took aim at reporters for raising questions about Trump’s initial response to the violence.  

“I take issue with the fact that many in the national media spent more time criticising the president’s words than they did criticising those that perpetuated the violence to begin with,” Pence added.  

The vice-president’s comments sparked an angry response from many journalists and commentators, with some calling him “an obsequious, unprincipled courtier”.