KKK Leader Who Hit Protesters Gets 6 Years, No Hate Crime Charges
The avowed Ku Klux Klan leader who drove into Black Lives Matter protesters in June will not be charged with a hate crime. But 36-year-old Harry Rogers will spend at least six years in jail for misdemeanor charges stemming from the incident.
At a trial in Henrico District Court on Monday, Judge Thomas O. Bondurant declined Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon Taylor’s request for the enhanced penalty of a hate crime. He agreed with defense attorneys that because the three victims were white, they were not targeted because of their race. But Bondurant still dolled out the harshest possible sentence for Rogers -- who was charged with six misdemeanors, including assault, hit and run and property damage.
Taylor said in an interview with VPM Monday, this is an opportunity for the General Assembly to expand the hate crimes statute, possibly when it reconvenes for a special session on August 18.
“I think the question now is, do Virginians believe that when somebody commits a crime that is based on hatred, for the discriminatory categories that we recognize by law. Is that something that deserves its own standing?” she said.
Rogers also faces three additional charges of felony malicious wounding. Those charges will be heard by a grand jury in September.
Two victims who were struck by Rogers’ vehicle testified in court on Monday. A third victim has not been identified.
Investigators testified about finding KKK paraphernalia in Rogers’ car and home, including a robe and Klan bible.