Yesterday, a white supremacist drove his truck into a group of peaceful George Floyd protestors in Henrico County, Virginia. The 36-year-old driver, Harry H. Rogers, was arrested and has been charged with assault and battery, malicious wounding, and felony vandalism.
Thankfully, nobody was seriously injured in the attack although it could have easily resulted in a tragedy like the death of Heather Heyer, the woman murdered by a racist in a similar vehicular assault in 2017.
It now turns out that Rogers is a Ku Klux Klan leader and a “propagandist for Confederate ideology,” according to Henrico County Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon Taylor. Her office is currently exploring the possibility of also adding hate crime charges to the case.
New: Man accused of driving car through protestors in Virginia Sunday is “admitted leader of Ku Klux Klan & a propagandist for Confederate ideology,” according to County Attorney.
Harry Rogers is charged with attempted malicious wounding, felony vandalism & assault & battery
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) June 8, 2020
“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,” said Taylor.
Photos of Rogers have been popping up on social media, including an image that appears to be Rogers dressed in a Klan outfit.
— Richard Sebastian (@rasebastian) June 8, 2020
#breaking A Hanover man arrested for driving through protesters in Lakeside today while revving his engine. We are told he clipped a bicyclist. Harry Rogers is charged with assault and battery. @8NEWS pic.twitter.com/vhFQzsoAov
— Talya Cunningham (@Talya8news) June 8, 2020
Regardless of how Rogers’s case proceeds, this incident must serve as a potent reminder that the forces of white supremacy in this country pose a serious risk to all of us. This toxic ideology played a crucial role in electing Donald Trump and has only grown in strength since he took office. The responsibility falls to all of us not just to vote him out, but to confront bigotry directly anytime we encounter it.
Crucially, this attack also proves that the racists feel threatened by these protests. Americans of all backgrounds are taking to the streets to protest police brutality and the racial animus undergirding much of our criminal justice system. If the racists are scared it means we are doing something right. We must keep up the pressure.