A Virginia man who self-identified as a leader of the Ku Klux Klan was sentenced to six years in prison for ramming his vehicle through a Black Lives Matter protest in Richmond in June.
Harry Rogers, 36, was found guilty of six misdemeanor crimes, including destruction of property, assault, and hit-and-run charges, on Monday. The judge gave him the maximum sentence for each conviction, which resulted in a six-year sentence.
Shannon Taylor, the commonwealth attorney for Henrico County, noted that Rogers is “an admitted leader of the Ku Klux Klan and a propagandist for Confederate ideology.”
Taylor had attempted to add hate crime charges on top of Rogers’s charges for assault, but Judge Thomas Bondurant ruled that the three people who were injured were not targeted because of their race. Attorneys for Rogers argued that his actions could not qualify as a hate crime because most of the protesters were white, a point with which Bondurant agreed. Taylor argued that even though the protesters were white, they were targeted because of their support for black people.
“You were still being selected for race,” Taylor said. “You were still being considered inadequate, inferior because you were supporting the African-American community that the Klan 100% says in its own written materials — and part of their ideology that they believe — are lesser human beings.”
Rogers could spend significantly more time behind bars, however. He was charged with three felony counts of attempted malicious wounding, for which he has not completed his trial.