In August 2017, at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, neo-Nazi sympathizer James Alex Fields Jr. drove his car into a crowd of counter- protesters. Nineteen people were injured, and one was killed: Heather Heyer.
The Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond found Heather Heyer died of blunt force injury to her chest.
In August 2018 at “Unite the Right 2” in DC I spoke with two “white rights” demonstrators. They insisted that it’s wrong to blame James Field’s Jr for the death of Heather Heyer. They told me she “died of natural causes” from of a heat attack.
How does one draw such a conclusion so far removed from reality?
Turns out the conspiracy theory started less than a week after Heather’s death when an NBC video featured a misleading soundbite of Heather’s mother saying: “She died of a heart attack right away at the scene, they revived her briefly and then — not consciously — they just got her heart beating again and then her heart just stopped. So I don’t feel like she suffered.”
Heather’s mom gave the sound bite proper context on Facebook:
Stephanie Dwilson explains:
It is possible for blunt force trauma to lead to a heart attack. Blunt trauma to the chest can at times cause cardiac contusion. According to the Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock. Blunt chest trauma can not only cause cardiac contusion, it can also rupture a heart chamber, disrupt a heart valve, or even cause cardiac arrest, Merck Manual reported.
Ricky Chavez sums it up well:
“Even if the heart-attack thing was true, that’s like saying someone didn’t die from getting stabbed, they died from not being able to stop bleeding…for some reason…the knife was unrelated.”