WASHINGTON – A Virginia prosecutor said Monday she is investigating whether hate crimes charges are warranted against an “admitted” Ku Klux Klan leader who authorities say revved his truck’s engine and drove into a crowd of peaceful protesters Sunday near Richmond, Virginia.
“The accused, by his own admission and by a cursory glance at social media, is an admitted leader of the Ku Klux Klan and a propagandist for Confederate ideology. We are investigating whether hate crimes charges are appropriate,” Henrico Commonwealth Attorney Shannon Taylor said in a statement Monday.
Harry Rogers, 36, was arrested Sunday in Richmond and charged with assault and battery, attempted malicious wounding and felony vandalism.
Taylor’s statement said Rogers was driving recklessly in the vicinity of the protest, drove up to the protesters, revved the engine and drove into the group.
Local police said in a news release that a victim reported the incident, which came during days of protests around the country over the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minnesota. The victim was checked by a rescue team and refused any further treatment, the news release said.
Rogers’ made his first court appearance Monday morning. He was denied bond and agreed to accept a court-appointed attorney, according to local news reports.
“While I am grateful that the victim’s injuries do not appear to be serious, an attack on peaceful protesters is heinous and despicable and we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law,” Taylor said.
Last year, a judge sentenced a white nationalist to life in prison after he pleaded guilty to 29 federal hate crimes charges for killing a woman and injuring more than 30 people by ramming his car into a crowd protesting a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The attack came after a day of tension and physical clashes between hundreds of white supremacists and neo-Nazis and groups of opposing demonstrators. The white supremacists had assembled in Charlottesville to protest the removal of statues honoring two Confederate generals of the U.S. Civil War.
Source: Voice of America