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Man Who Drove His Pickup Truck Into Crowd Of Protesters Is Self-Proclaimed 'President' Of Virginia KKK

Man Who Drove His Pickup Truck Into Crowd Of Protesters Is Self-Proclaimed 'President' Of Virginia KKK
Henrico Sheriff's Department

As protests continue, varied perspectives continue to emerge, some fully supportive and others questioning effectiveness.

But some have gone in a very negative direction, reacting violently when witnessing a protest.

Harry Rogers of Henrico County, Virginia, was charged with multiple felonies and one misdemeanor after driving his truck into a crowd of peaceful protesters in Lakeside on Sunday.

The protest was a part of the current Black Lives Matter movement, in response to the death of George Floyd.

Rogers was represented by a court-appointed attorney and was formally charged with two felonies: destruction of property and attempted malicious wounding. He was also charged with one misdemeanor of assault and battery.

Though a destroyed bicycle was the only sign of physical property damage, Rogers' actions are being further investigated as a hate crime.

A spokesperson for the Henrico Police Department said:

"Several witnesses reported that a vehicle revved their engine and drove through the protesters occupying the roadway."

The Henrico Commonwealth's Attorney, Shannon Taylor, also relayed how Rogers told the police officers who performed the arrest that he was the highest-ranking official of the Ku Klux Klan who was not in jail.

Taylor explained in court:

"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. We are investigating whether hate crimes charges are appropriate."

Taylor also promised to represent Henrico County's safety.

"We will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. We lived through this in Virginia in Charlottesville in 2017. I promise Henricoans that this egregious criminal act will not go unpunished. Hate has no place here under my watch."

While being interviewed during his time in jail, Rogers denied the claims.

He admitted to having connections to the KKK, but he did not say he was the president or highest-ranking member. He also questioned the reasons behind his arrest.

Rogers claimed during the interview that he had simply driven up on the street median to get around the crowd of protesters, not to hit them.

Despite Rogers' claims, witnesses believe he had other intentions.

The person who organized the protest didn't want to be identified but explained the gathering's intentions.

"This was a small gathering of 200-300 people many of whom brought their children or were elderly. Many of those in the back of the group were with their children or elderly. I witnessed him cut around drivers who were waiting behind the protest as he drove on the median so he could get closer to the protesters."

Rachel Kurtz, who was involved in the protest, said she and her family were walking at the back of the protest group when they were forced to jump out of the way when the truck came into their path.

Kurtz stated:

"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."
"He kept revving his engine inching forward like he was trying to hit the people in front of him. 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."

Eva Swanson, another protester, offered a similar account.

"[The driver] revved his engine and sped up and I thought for sure people were going to die. People were screaming. I don't know if we were in range of him hitting us, but we were afraid for our lives and fled out of the way."
"I want to be clear though, the fear I had as a white person marching is nothing compared to the fear of violence black people face every single day."

After the sentencing was shared on Twitter, many questioned why Rogers did not receive a greater sentence.

To make the situation more complicated, this is hardly the first time Rogers has been involved in a politically-charged situation.

According to CBS 6, Virginia Flaggers appeared at Rogers' home in 2013, preparing to raise a Confederate flag in his front yard.

Rogers and his girlfriend were later interviewed by the station again, after the first interview had been aired and their landlord had evicted them for wanting to display a Confederate flag.

Later in 2016, Rogers was identified while wearing a Ku Klux Klan uniform and holding a Confederate flag, while standing in front of the Colonial Heights War Memorial.

Rogers is expected to reappear in court August and was denied the option for bail by the judge.