On Sunday, a group of Black men riding motorcycles say they pulled into a residential neighborhood in the rural Virginia area. According to the riders, shortly after they paused for a break, a man came outside and pointed an assault rifle at them, suggesting they were trespassing, as reported by local outlet WUSA 9. A video of the incident quickly went viral online, first on YouTube and then on Reddit. The suspect, who has been identified as Dennis Lee Berry, has been arrested and charged with five misdemeanor counts of brandishing a firearm.
In the video, the suspect is heard saying: "I'm gonna take you out first."
One rider in the video can be heard saying, “None of us have any weapons or anything to threaten your life ... but you're pointing a gun at us that's probably loaded.”
One rider narrates the video, saying, “Parked my bike over here to take a break real quick. I got a white guy here pointing a gun at four Black men. Look at this. All we’re doing is standing here.” Berry does not mention race in the video.
The Sheriff’s Office says it received 911 calls from both Berry and at least one of the riders about the incident. Berry has since been released on a $5,000 unsecured bond. His weapon was seized as evidence in the case.
According to local outlet the Free Lance-Star, brandishing is a Class 1 misdemeanor. It reportedly carries a maximum penalty of a $2,500 fine and one year in jail in the state of Virginia.
According to a press release shared on Facebook, there was a sign marking the neighborhood as private property. The riders said they had not seen it. Berry was charged anyway, however, because the bikers were not actually on his private property. All of the riders were also unarmed.
Watch the video of local news coverage above, including the clip.