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James Alex Fields, Jr.

The man accused of ramming protesters in Charlottesville was pictured with a racist group

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The man accused of ramming a car into a crowd protesting a white supremacist rally Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, had been photographed earlier that morning holding a shield with the emblem of one of the hate groups.

Vanguard America, one of the hate groups that helped organize the "take America back" campaign, denied any association with James Alex Fields Jr.

In a photo taken by the New York Daily News, Fields is seen standing alongside a group of men dressed in the Vanguard America uniform, holding white shields with a black-and-white logo of two axes. The Daily News said the photo was taken around 10:30 a.m.

In a Twitter post, the group said it had handed out the shields "to anyone in attendance who wanted them," and denied Fields was a member. "All our members are safe an (sic) accounted for, with no arrests or charges."

Charlottesville officials said Fields crashed his silver Dodge Challenger into a crowd around 1:42 p.m.

Police charged Fields with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and one count of a hit and run in connection to the crash that killed a 32-year-old woman and injured at least 19 others.

Heather Heyer was identified as the victim killed in the Charlottesville rally

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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