RAM founder, other members sentenced on riot charges

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Three white supremacists have been sentenced for charges connected to the Aug. 12, 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.

An image released by the FBI showing members of the Rise Above Movement attending the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017, including Benjamin Daley, Michael Miselis, Thomas Gillen and Cole White.

Benjamin Daley, Michael Miselis and Thomas Gillen were all members of the now-defunct organization called the Rise Above Movement, which was based in California.

They were sentenced Friday in the U.S. District Court in Charlottesville on riot charges connected with the Unite the Right rally and other political rallies in California.

Daley, one of the founders of RAM, was sentenced to just over three years in prison.

Gillen was sentenced to 33 months while Miselis was sentenced to 27 months.

Each man had previously pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to riot charge.

"These defendants, motivated by hateful ideology, incited and committed acts of violence in Charlottesville, as well at other purported political rallies in California," said U.S. Attorney Thomas Cullen. "They were not interested in peaceful protest or lawful First Amendment expression. Instead, they intended to provoke and engage in street battles with those that they perceived as their enemies."

Court documents showed RAM was described as a combat-ready, militant group that represented itself as part of the new nationalist and white supremacy movement.

The group openly identified as "alt-right" and "nationalists, " and its members often posted images and videos of themselves in physical training and practicing mixed martial arts-style street fighting along with anti-Semitic and white supremacist views.

All three men also participated in the torch-lit march across the University of Virginia Grounds on Aug. 11, 2017.

That march ended at the statue of Thomas Jefferson in front of the Rotunda with violence between marchers, who had been chanting phrases such as "Blood and Soil," and UVA students who had gathered at the statue to protest white supremacy.

Daley, Gillen and Miselis admitted as part of their plea deals that their actions during this violence were not in self-defense.

A fourth RAM member, Cole Evan White, will be sentenced on a conspiracy to riot charge at a future date.



 
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