UPDATE: Ohio man sues white supremacists over 2017 Virginia rally

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ATHENS, Ohio (AP) - UPDATE: 05/18/19

An Ohio man is suing white supremacists and neo-Nazi protesters in federal court, saying he was severely injured during their rally in Virginia two years ago.

Bill Burke of Athens, Ohio, filed the lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court in Ohio. 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, Virginia. Fields was convicted of murder and other charges in state court, and pleaded guilty last month to federal hate crimes. He is awaiting sentencing.

According to Burke, his physical injuries still require medical treatment and may be permanent, and he has experienced "severe psychological and emotional suffering."

The lawsuit names multiple defendants, including Fields, David Duke and Jason Kessler.

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UPDATE: 08/16/2017 9:15 A.M.

An Athens County man injured in Saturday's protest in Charlottesville, Va., is now recuperating at home and trying to come to terms with the incident that left a woman dead.

Bill Burke went to the rally to defend counter-protesters and defend what he believes. He ended up being among 19 people injured when a car slammed into the crowd.

He says he never wanted things to turn violent and never thought the trip would nearly cost him his life.

One minute, Burke says, he was walking with a group of counter-protesters. A few seconds later, he was in the middle of a chaotic scene.

"I turned around, and I saw somebody flying into me," he says. "I could hear the loud, loud crash. It was, like, right beside me where he hit the other car, and I was laying there. A girl said 'you got to hold your head. You're bleeding all over the place. You got to hold your head, you got to hold your head shut.' "

Burke was released from the hospital the day after the incident but still has stitches and staples in his head and now relies on a cane to walk.

His wife, Annie, says he may have suffered a concussion and struggles to remember many of the detail of that horrific day.


The rally that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia and caught the nation’s attention left over a dozen people injured.

Bill Burke from Athens County was one of the injured after a vehicle struck protesters.

Burke's wife, Annie, says he was there as a counter-protesters and drove up there alone because he believed that much in helping others.

She also says that he is expected to make a full recovery. Burke remains at the University of Virginia Medical Center.

“He was lying on the ground, and his head was to a woman also laying there," Annie says. "They were doing CPR, and he could feel the compressions. He could actually feel them then, and he said it was the most helpless feeling he'd ever had because he couldn't do anything for her. He doesn't know for sure, but he didn't think she was going to make it and was crying when he told me that."

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