Sessions in Hot Seat Following Charlottesville Investigation - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Sessions in Hot Seat Following Charlottesville Investigation

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks Friday, May 12, 2017 in Washington. (Photo: AP) Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks Friday, May 12, 2017 in Washington. (Photo: AP)

WASHINGTON (WBOC/AP) - Attorney General Jeff Sessions is facing a tough new test of his commitment to protecting civil rights as he oversees the Justice Department's investigation of the Charlottesville violence.

The former Alabama senator has denounced racism and bigotry, and has called the driver's actions at the neo-Nazi rally an "evil" act of domestic terrorism worthy of a federal civil rights investigation.

Civil rights advocates say they are keeping a close watch as Sessions' history has them concerned - including his changes to how the department enforces civil rights law.

Experts says Sessions faces legal limitations in deciding whether to bring hate crime charges against the driver. Sessions may decide that the state murder charges already leveled against the man behind wheel are sufficient for justice.

Meanwhile, officials in Roanoke, Virginia, are considering renaming Stonewall Jackson Middle School. The Roanoke Times reported Saturday that the school is the city's only remaining school named after a Confederate general. A portrait of Jackson also hangs in the building, originally built in 1923.

School board Chairwoman Annette Lewis says a committee is being formed to address the matter. The Southern Poverty Law Center estimates that 21 schools in Virginia are named after well-known Confederate generals.

Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson was a Confederate commander who earned his nickname in the First Battle of Manassas, also known as Bull Run, in 1861.


Calls for the renaming of such schools follow the violence that erupted last month during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last month.

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