A Maryland Ku Klux Klan leader who fired a gun at a black counterprotester during last year’s deadly white supremacy rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, has been ordered to spend the next four years behind bars.
Richard W. Preston, 53, was sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty in May to a charge of firing a weapon within 1,000 feet of a school property. During the Aug. 12, 2017, “Unite the Right” rally, hundreds of white supremacists took to the streets with chants of “Jews will not replace us” and “blood and soil.”
The event turned violent as anti-racism protesters met racists in the streets. Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when she was struck by a car driven by a white supremacist. That same day, Preston was captured on video firing at the feet of black counterprotester Corey Long. Long was wielding an aerosol can that he sprayed onto a lighter. Preston’s attorney, Elmer Woodward, tried to argue that his client was protecting himself.
“Somebody had to put a stop to that flamethrower,” Woodard said. “The rules go out the window when flamethrowers are involved.”
Long is facing his own charges of misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct.
Many of the racists identified at the rallies have lost their jobs, while other bigots were given prison time. Earlier this year, 23-year-old Jacob Scott Goodwin was found guilty in the beating of a black man at the same rally. Video captured Goodwin and others beating 20-year-old DeAndre Harris in a parking garage. A jury recommended that Goodwin be sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Meanwhile, white nationalist leader Richard Spencer is facing a federal lawsuit over his role in the rally and has been having trouble finding a lawyer to represent him.
More recently, neo-Nazi Jason Kessler ― who helped organize the rally ― was seen on video getting yelled at by his dad, with whom he was living as of June 28.
Congratulations to Preston and the “master race.” You’ve lost again.