The self-proclaimed Klansman who drove his pickup truck into a crowd of Virginians—many bearing signs reading “Black Lives Matter” and marching to protest the killing of George Floyd—injuring a cyclist and spreading panic in the crowd has now been charged with multiple hate crimes in the incident, according to a statement released Thursday by Henrico County Commonwealth Attorney Shannon Taylor.
Witnesses said that Harry H. Rogers, 36, of Hanover County revved his engine and drove his truck through the crowd of protesters. The incident reflects the growing use of vehicles as a weapon against leftist protesters by right-wing extremists nationally.
“People had been revving their engine in support, but all of a sudden it was going in the opposite direction," said protester Shannon Campanella. “I turn around and I just see panic—people running and grabbing their kids, and trying to protect their kids. That was the most heartbreaking part; trying to grab them on to the sidewalks and medians.”
Rogers told investigators at the time that he is “a leader” in the Ku Klux Klan in nearby Hanover.
Taylor’s statement indicated that her investigators spoke with over two dozen witnesses and several victims, after which “I determined that further charges were warranted.” She said Rogers had been served with the additional warrants already.
Rogers was arrested at the time after stopping his truck and getting out, where other protesters confronted him. He originally faced a bevy of charges: one count of assault and battery, one count of attempted malicious wounding, and one count of felony vandalism of property.
Rogers now additionally faces four counts of attempted hate crimes, two counts of felonious attempted malicious wounding, and one count of felony hit and run.
“I am charging Mr. Rogers with the strongest form of assault and hate crimes permitted under Virginia law,” Taylor remarked.
She added: “As I said when this heinous event occurred, I will not tolerate this violence in Henrico. I have no doubt Mr. Rogers was motivated by bigotry and racism and should be severely punished for his egregious criminal misbehavior. I very much appreciate the witnesses and victims who came forward to speak to the investigation.”
Published with permission of Daily Kos