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An self-avowed leader of the Ku Klux Klan has been found guilty of attacking protestors with his car at a Black Lives Matter rally — but it wasn’t a hate crime, a judge ruled Monday.
Harry Rogers, 36, drove his vehicle on June 7 into a crowd of protestors against racial injustice and police brutality. He drove down a road’s median strip until he reached the protestors, then revved his engine and plowed into them, Shannon Taylor, the Henrico County Commonwealth Attorney said in a statement.
At least two protestors were struck, and a video of the incident showed a woman jumping onto the hood of the car to avoid being run over, the reported.
Shortly before officers arrived on scene, Rogers gloated about his actions in a Facebook Live video, according to , a Virginia newspaper.
“They scattered like cockroaches,” he reportedly said. “It’s kind of funny if you ask me.”
The video has since been deleted.
When police arrived to arrest him, Rogers allegedly said he was the “highest ranking member of the KKK,” local news station reported. A later search of Rogers’ home revealed numerous items linking him to the notorious hate group, including literature, patches, and a green Grand Dragon robe, according to the Times-Dispatch. A Grand Dragon is a high-ranking member of the Klan.
“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 in her statement.
Rogers was initially charged with one count of assault and battery, one count of attempted malicious wounding, and one count of felony vandalism of property, according to another attorney statement acquired by Oxygen.com. The charges were later upgraded to include four counts of assault with hate crimes, along with two felony counts of attempted malicious wounding and one count of felony hit and run.
The court Monday found Rogers guilty of six misdemeanors, reported. He was given the maximum possible sentence of 12 months for each count, guaranteeing that he will be behind bars for at least six years.
However, Rogers was not found guilty of the hate crime enhancements.
All of the victims pressing charges were white, and the judge found that under , illegal acts against people or property are not considered “hate crimes” unless the victims are members of the hated group, Taylor said in an interview with Oxygen.com.
Although she was disappointed by the court’s decision, Taylor stressed that the ruling did not actually impact Rogers’s sentencing. A hate crime enhancement only requires the court to impose a certain minimum sentence, and Monday’s judge imposed the maximum sentence on all counts.
Rogers will return to court in September for his remaining three felony charges, WRIC reports.
His attorney, George Townsend, could not be immediately reached for comment.
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