On Saturday, sisters Tadrint and Micah Washington were driving down a Charlottesville side street where counter-protesters were marching against white supremacists at a "Unite the Right" rally. Although the women had not been participating in the protests, their car was soon rammed from behind by a Dodge Challenger, an event that ultimately left 19 people injured and one woman, Heather Heyer, dead. Now, these sisters are suing the white supremacists responsible for Charlottesville's violence in a $3 million lawsuit.
The lawsuit, which was filed in court on Wednesday, names more than two-dozen right-wing and neo-Nazi groups, including prominent white supremacists David Duke and Richard Spencer. The suit argues that the individual driving the Dodge intended to "kill and maim as many individuals as possible," and that rally organizers promoted "violent acts and terrorism for the purpose of instilling fear in the public.”
“We want the people who incited this catastrophe to sit in a courtroom and face a jury of normal Charlottesville citizens," said Timothy Litzenburg of the Miller Firm, who is representing the sisters in the suit. "That jury can decide what it is that they owe to the citizens of this city.”
Litzenburg added that the legal team could potentially add more defendants to the suit, and that he plans to use statements made by rally organizers to media outlets to prove that the organizers welcomed and approved of the use of violence.
In addition to the stress of filing a lawsuit, the Washington sisters, who moved to Charlottesville from Mississippi, are still dealing with the physical and emotional toll of having been injured in a domestic terror incident.
"It came out of nowhere," Micah Washington, age 20, told The Washington Post. “It was something I never thought I’d ever have to experience in Charlottesville in 2017."
While both sisters suffered minor injuries in the attack as they were thrown into the windshield of their car, they also have to deal with the pain of witnessing the aftermath of the attack. The Washingtons witnessed the bodies of counter-protesters being flung over their own car, and watched medical responders attempting to revive 32-year-year-old Heyer after she was fatally injured at the scene.
"[The rally organizers] didn't care about our safety," 27-year-old Tadrint Washington said. "We hope it ends here."
The sisters hope that the lawsuit will give a voice to victims of the violence, according to the Washington Post. The sisters' legal team has stated that the lawsuit is an important step in "fighting fascism."