Four years ago, the city of Charlottesville and the surrounding areas changed forever. In the midst of the tense "Unite The Right" rally, things went from bad to worse as noted white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr. drove his car into a crowd of people. One person was killed, 35 were physically injured and millions of Americans were shaken. As more media members dove into the story and legal professionals investigated the matter, it became clear that the organizers prepared participants for a violent event in which someone could die.
"We are angry. There is an atavistic rage in us, deep in us, that is ready to boil over. There is a craving to return to an age of violence. We want a war," neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer founder Andrew Aglin wrote in a message obtained by NBC News.
Over time, leaked messages along with additional evidence further outlined the violent nature of what was planned to take place. For years, a number of people who pushed back against the white nationalists who were protesting the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville lived with the pain of this day. Now, they are taking their fight to federal court. A group of nine plaintiffs has filed a lawsuit against approximately two dozen "Unite The Right" organizers in an effort to gain financial compensation. Under the Enforcement Act of 1871, the plaintiffs claim that the defendants violated the act in an effort to harm people of color and Jewish people.
"This is the victims fighting back through the law," Brian Levin of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino told NBC News.
Integrity First for America Director Amy Spitalnick is adamant that the outcome of this case could "provide a model for how you can hold extremists accountable." If the plaintiffs emerge with a win, Spitalnick believes it will create "very serious financial, legal and operational consequences" for white nationalists who engage in violent, illegal affairs.
"The violence that happened four years ago was not an accident," Spitalnick told NBC News.
Jury selection will begin on Monday and opening arguments will start shortly thereafter.