A man accused of driving his vehicle into a crowd of George Floyd protesters in Virginia is a self-professed leader of the Ku Klux Klan, according to the county prosecutor.
As Richmond’s WWBT-TV reports, on Sunday afternoon a group of demonstrators had convened at an intersection in the town of Henrico in suburban Richmond, to protest the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African American man who died in police custody in Minneapolis two weeks prior.
At about 5:45 p.m., authorities received a call that a vehicle had revved its engine and driven into the protesters. The victim was checked by a crew at the scene and declined medical treatment. The severity of his or her injuries remains unclear as of this writing.
Police later arrested Harry H. Rogers, 36, of nearby Hanover County and charged him with assault and battery, attempted malicious wounding, and felony vandalism. He is being held without bond. Meanwhile, authorities are currently deciding whether or not to attach hate-crime charges to the existing criminal complaint.
In a statement, Henrico Commonwealth Attorney Shannon Taylor referenced a similar vehicular attack on protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which a woman, Heather Heyer, died. In the Charlottesville incident, which took place in 2017, a man later identified as James Alex Fields Jr. was convicted of first-degree murder and is currently serving a life sentence.
“We lived through this in Virginia in Charlottesville in 2017. I promise Henricoans that this egregious criminal act will not go unpunished,” she said.
Taylor also noted that Rogers appeared to admit, both to police and to social media, that he’s a leader of the KKK.
“The accused, by his own admission and by a cursory glance at social media, is an admitted leader of the Ku Klux Klan and a propagandist for Confederate ideology,” she added, noting that this accusation may be the basis for further hate-crime charges against Rogers.
In a phone interview, according to U.S. News & World Report, Taylor noted the juxtaposition of a violent crime allegedly committed by a member of the KKK with protests about racial injustice.
“The allegations are incredibly serious… particularly during this time when we are having real conversations about racism, real conversations about social inequalities and the idea of the injustices that are happening,” she said.
The Virginia incident was not the only incident in which a vehicle was allegedly used as a weapon against George Floyd protesters. As reported by The Inquisitr, a man was recently accused of driving into demonstrators in Seattle and shooting at someone who tried to disarm him.