A member of the Ku Klux Klan who drove his pickup truck through a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters near Richmond, Va., last year while his girlfriend’s teenage son was in the vehicle was sentenced on Tuesday to three years eight months in prison, officials said.
The man, Harry H. Rogers of Hanover County, Va., drove his truck through the crowd of protesters in Henrico County on June 7 and was arrested later that day while he and others were monitoring another group of protesters about two miles away in Richmond, according Lieutenant J. De Groft, a spokesman for the Henrico County Police Department.
No one was seriously injured in the episode. Mr. Rogers drove over one man’s toe and twice struck one woman who had stepped in front of the truck, according to The Associated Press.
Before Mr. Rogers’s arrest, he had bragged about his actions on social media. “This Chevrolet 2500 went up on the curb and through the protest,” he said in a Facebook live video played in court last week, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. “It’s kind of funny if you ask me.”
George Townsend, a lawyer for Mr. Rogers, told the court that his client had been “born into” the K.K.K., The A.P. reported. Mr. Townsend did not immediately respond to telephone and email messages late Tuesday night. Shannon L. Taylor, the Henrico County commonwealth’s attorney, had said that Mr. Rogers admitted he was a “leader of the Ku Klux Klan and a propagandist for Confederate ideology.”
At his sentencing, Mr. Rogers told the court that he “didn’t make the right decisions that day,” The A.P. reported.
When Mr. Rogers drove his pickup truck into the crowd in Henrico County, his girlfriend’s 14-year-old son was in the passenger seat, the police said. Ms. Taylor, the prosecutor, said Mr. Rogers did not face charges specifically related to having the teenager in the vehicle at that time.
Mr. Rogers was originally convicted of six misdemeanors in August 2020 and was sentenced to six years in prison. He appealed those convictions but then, in an agreement with prosecutors, agreed last week to plead guilty to fewer charges rather than go to trial, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
Mr. Rogers pleaded guilty to three counts of assault and battery, one count of failing to stop after a crash and one count of destruction of property less than $1,000. On Tuesday, he was sentenced to consecutive terms of one year in prison on each assault and battery charge, and consecutive terms of four months on each of the remaining charges.
Mr. Rogers is among several people who have been charged with using vehicles to attack protesters. In 2017 in Charlottesville, Va., a driver in a car bearing Ohio license plates drove into a group of protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman, Heather Heyer. The driver, James Alex Fields Jr., was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
In July 2020, Summer Taylor, 24, died after being struck by a vehicle that drove into a group of protesters on a closed section of Interstate 5 in Seattle. The driver, Dawit Kelete, was charged with vehicular homicide and is scheduled to be tried in September.