Harry Rogers, the self-proclaimed president of the Virginia Ku Klux Klan, has been charged with assault and battery, attempted malicious wounding, and destruction of property for driving his car through a group of Black Lives Matter protesters during a demonstration on Sunday, The Guardian reports.
"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," Henrico County Commonwealth’s attorney Shannon Taylor said in a statement, via CBS-affiliate WTVR in Richmond, Virginia. Given his admission to being a part of the KKK, Rogers could also face hate crimes charges.
"While I am grateful that the victim’s injuries do not appear to be serious, an attack on peaceful protesters is heinous and despicable and we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law," Taylor continued. "Hate has no place here under my watch." One person was treated at the scene of the incident, but no one was seriously injured.
Eva Swanson told WTVR that she saw when Rogers revved up his engine, and proceeded to drive his pickup truck onto the median before veering into the crowd of protesters. Rogers said that he drove onto the median to escape the protest. Rachel Kurtz recalls being positioned towards the back of protesters when she heard and ultimately saw Rogers’ truck drive by her and her family.
"I heard the engine rev up real loud behind us and it sounded as if it was coming in quickly so I shouted to my husband and son to get up on the sidewalk quick. Sure enough it came right up beside us quickly and seemed like it was trying to hit the crowd," Kurtz said.
"He kept revving his engine inching forward like he was trying to hit the people in front of him," she added. "The plan was to go to the [AP Hill] statue and meet up with another group and have a moment of silence. He was there already parked before the group got there. He was there waiting."
Rogers, who also goes by "Skip," organized a one-man protest four years ago where he dressed in a white robe bearing a KKK insignia while holding a Confederate flag. Rogers was eventually joined by another person who carried a sign that read "Fuck This Guy" with an arrow pointed at him. Skip claimed to be an organizer for the NAACP, which, to him, stood for National Association for Awakening Confederate Patriots.
The Progress-Index reports that over the span of 45 minutes, Rogers was yelled at, and car horns were honked at him, but no one tried to run him over with their vehicle.
A Change.org petition calling for the Department of Homeland Security to declare that the KKK is a terrorist organization has been closed. It received over 100,000 supporters.