HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Police say a man from Hanover County has been arrested after driving through a group of protesters Sunday evening.
On June 7 at approximately 5:45 p.m., Henrico County police received a call about an incident that occurred during the protest walk on Lakeside Avenue near Vale Street.
An adult victim had stopped to report the incident in the city near the AP Hill Monument.
“It was really peaceful, lots of kids there, lots of families,” said protester Adriana Ross.
She was one of the hundreds of people drumming up support along Lakeside Avenue on Sunday.
"We had a lot of people like honking, waving and cheering,” said another protester, Shannon Campanella.
Ross and Campanella separately saw their peaceful protest nearly devolve into chaos.
“People had been revving their engine in support, but all of a sudden it wasn’t going in the opposite direction," said Campanella. “I turn around and I just see panic - people running and grabbing their kids, and trying to protect their kids. That was the most heartbreaking part; trying to grab them on to the sidewalks and medians.”
Henrico Police say Harry Rogers drove his blue pickup truck into the crowd, injuring a cyclist.
"I really thought this was going to be another version of Charlottesville, only worse,” said Ross.
Rogers is facing charges of attempted malicious wounding, felony vandalism and assault and battery.
Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon Taylor said Rogers admitted to being a leader of the Ku Klux Klan and a propagandist for Confederate ideology. They are investigating whether hate crimes charges are appropriate.
Protesters Ross and Campanella say that aggressors like Rogers are the reason for the nationwide protests.
“He is a hateful person and it shows. Pretty much, he’s the reason why we’re protesting - one of the many reasons why we’re protesting,” said Campanella.
The victim was checked by rescue at the scene and refused any further treatment.
No other injuries were reported.
Rogers is being held without bond, and his next court hearing is scheduled for Aug. 18.
Taylor released the following statement in part:
“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.
“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. We are investigating whether hate crimes charges are appropriate.
“Yesterday, I participated in a different peaceful protest for equality and justice in Henrico. Protesters acting peaceably, well within their constitutional rights of assembly, should not have to fear violence. We lived through this in Virginia in Charlottesville in 2017. I promise Henricoans that this egregious criminal act will not go unpunished. Hate has no place here under my watch.”
Governor Ralph Northam also tweeted about the incident.
Anyone with information or who witnessed the incident is asked to call Henrico police at 804-501-5000.
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