An avowed Ku Klux Klan member was sentenced to nearly four years in prison for driving through a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters during a demonstration last summer in Virginia.
Harry Rogers, 37, struck at least two people with his blue Chevrolet pickup truck during the June 7 demonstrations just outside Richmond — running over one man’s toe and hitting a woman twice after she stepped in front of his truck, authorities said. Neither were seriously hurt.
He was sentenced Tuesday to three years and eight months behind bars after pleading guilty Thursday to five misdemeanors, including three counts of assault, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
Three felony charges and a fourth count of assault were dropped by prosecutors in exchange for Rogers’ guilty plea.
He had been initially sentenced to six years in prison in August after being convicted on six misdemeanor counts, but agreed to plead guilty on the fewer charges rather than go to trial, the Times-Dispatch reported.
Rogers was first charged with a hate crime enhancement on each assault charge, but a judge agreed to toss them after his attorney argued that the victims – who are white – were not targeted due to their race.
Defense attorney George Townsend had accused prosecutors of seeking to unfairly sentence Rogers “just because of his connection to the KKK,” the Times-Dispatch reported.
Prior to sentencing, Rogers had pleaded with Henrico Circuit Judge L.A. Harris Jr. for leniency while acknowledging his actions.
“Maybe I didn’t make the right decisions that day, but we can’t rewind time,” Rogers said in court.
Prior to his arrest, Rogers boasted about the attack on a Facebook live video, characterizing the demonstrators he targeted as insects.
“This Chevrolet 2500 went up on the curb and through the protest,” Rogers said on the clip, which was played in court. “They scattered like [expletive] cockroaches … It’s kind of funny if you ask me.”
His attorney also acknowledged Thursday that Rogers is a member of KKK as prosecutors had previously alleged.
“He was born into it,” Townsend told the judge last week. “That was never hidden.”
Police said the 14-year-old son of Rogers’ girlfriend was riding in the passenger seat of the truck when it drove through the protest.
Rogers was later arrested near a statue of Confederate general A.P. Hill, which he reportedly told police he and about 20 others were protecting.
Investigators then found a pistol, a rifle, Confederate patches and a document titled “The Practice of Klanishness” — which a gang unit officer likened to a “book of the Bible” for KKK members — inside the truck, the Times-Dispatch reported.
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