A self-proclaimed Ku Klux Klan leader in Virginia accused of driving his truck into peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters in June was found guilty of six misdemeanors this week and sentenced to six years in prison, WRIC reported.
Three felony charges of malicious wounding against Harry Rogers, 36, are being certified to the grand jury in September, the station said.
The court did not find Rogers guilty of hate crimes, however.
Rogers was found guilty of four counts of simple assault and one count each of property damage and hit and run.
Two of the three people hit by Rogers’s truck testified at Monday’s trial, along with a gang expert who testified about KKK material found at Rogers’s home, where investigators found a KKK rober, a “Klan Bible,” various Klan accessories, a large “White Power” flag, and weapons.
Prosecutors also played Facebook Live videos that Rogers streamed while driving to the march on June 7. In it, he calls for his followers to meet him to “protect” a Confederate statue in the area. “Come on, y’all. Let’s go have some fun,” he says.
In another Live stream, Rogers says he drove up onto the median and revved his engine. “[Protesters] spread like cockroaches,” he said. And in social media posts, he said things like “Black Lives Splatter.”
Prosecutors also played body camera footage from officers who responded to the scene. In one, Rogers says a protester hit his son, a passenger in the truck, in the face, prompting his decision to drive into the crowd, although he also says he didn’t hit anyone with his vehicle. Police officers said their investigation indicated that he hit three people and that there was no evidence anyone struck his son.
Videos played for the court also showed weapons and ammunition found in a search of the truck.
Another officer testified that Rogers pulled him aside and told him he was the “president of the Virginia sector of the KKK” and that 20 people from his Klan chapter were incognito at the protest. They didn’t act, the officer said, because Rogers said he “told them to stand down.”
Commonweath’s Attorney for Henrico County Shannon Taylor said after the trial that she had no doubt Rogers was “motivated by bigotry and racism.”
“Ultimately the end still worked out in the commonwealth’s favor because the (hate crimes) sentence enhancement just means the court must impose a certain time, and the court went ahead and imposed all of the time,” Taylor added. “So even though the court did not find the sentence enhancement that the victims were selected for race, the court still did impose a full 12 months for each of the assault charges.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Taylor said at the time of Rogers’s arrest that he drove “recklessly down Lakeside Avenue in the median, drove up to protesters, revved his engine, and drove into the protesters.”
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[Featured image: Harry Rogers/Henrico County Sheriff’s Office]