Member of Ku Klux Klan Who Drove Truck Into Crowd of BLM Protestors Sentenced to Over 3 Years
Harry Rogers, 37, was sentenced Tuesday by a Virginia Judge L.A. Harris Jr. to three years and eight months behind bars for his reckless act.
Last summer, during a Black Lives Matter Protest in Virginia, a self-proclaimed high-ranking member of the Ku Klux Klan drove his truck, with his girlfriend's 14-year-old son in the passenger seat, into a crowd of protestors, according to reports. And on Tuesday, Harry Rogers, 37, of Virginia was sentenced by Henrico County Judge L.A. Harris Jr. to three years and eight months behind bars for his reckless act, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Rogers was driving his blue Chevrolet pickup truck on June 7 just before 6 p.m. when he passed a group of protestors along a divided highway on Lakeside Avenue in Richmond. Rogers reportedly turned the truck around and drove into the crowd, striking two people, including a woman twice after she stepped in front of the truck, according to reports. He also ran over another man's toe, officials said. No one was seriously injured and Rogers was arrested later that day, the outlet reported.
In an agreement with prosecutors to avoid trial, Rogers pleaded guilty to three counts of assault, all misdemeanor charges, and one count each of destruction of property and hit and run, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
He was originally charged with hate crime enhancement but because the group of protestors was all white, prosecutors were "unable to effectively argue" that his offenses qualified as a hate crime, Commonwealth's Attorney Shannon Taylor told reporters after the sentencing.
Taylor said during the press conference that she hopes to expand the definition of hate crime laws in the state.
Judge Harris sentenced Rogers to consecutive terms of one year for each of the assault charges and consecutive terms of four months on the remaining charges, according to reports.
“You cannot take these situations into your own hands,” Judge Harris told Rogers, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. “That leads to chaos.”
Following the incident, Rogers boasted about his acts on social media, calling the crowd of protestors "cockroaches."
"They started scattering like cockroaches...it's kind of funny if you ask me," he wrote, according to the AP.
George Townsend, an attorney for Rogers, told the court that his client was a member of the KKK, saying that he was "born into" the group. Townsend also said that the only people who made contact with the truck were those who "put themselves in front" of it.
But Rogers admitted to the court Tuesday that he "didn't make the right decisions that day."
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