A Virginia man who drove his pickup truck into a crowd of anti-racism protesters on Sunday is a self-described white supremacist, prosecutors said Monday.
Harry H. Rogers, 36, has been arrested and charged with assault and battery, attempted malicious wounding and felony vandalism after witnesses in Richmond said he drove onto a median, revved his engine and drove into a crowd of protesters.
One person was injured during the incident. The victim was evaluated at the scene and refused further treatment, Henrico County Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon Taylor said in a statement issued Monday.
“While I am grateful 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 said in her statement.
She continued: “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.”
Taylor said her office is investigating whether hate crime charges are “appropriate” in Rogers’ case.
Anti-racism protests have erupted nationwide following George Floyd’s death while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. On Saturday, a small group of demonstrators in Richmond toppled a statue of former Confederate Gen. Williams Carter Wickham.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced Thursday plans to remove a state-owned statue of former top Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee “as soon as possible” from its pedestal on Monument Avenue, where several Confederate monuments stand.
The other Confederate statues on Monument Avenue, which sit on city land, will also be removed, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney (D) announced last month.
In an interview with The Richmond Times-Dispatch, Rogers’ girlfriend, who asked not to be identified out of safety concerns, said Rogers went to the protest Sunday to “observe” because he was concerned statues might be damaged during the demonstration. He planned to call police if anyone defaced the monuments, Rogers’ girlfriend told the newspaper.
She said Rogers was driving with her 14-year-old son at the time and that a protester reached through the truck’s window and hit her son.
“He tried to drive over a median to get my son out of danger,” Rogers’ girlfriend told the Times-Dispatch.
Rogers is being held at Henrico County Regional Jail East. His bail has not yet been set, according to jail records.