A Virginia man was sentenced to three years in prison Thursday after pleading guilty to charges stemming from driving through a crowd of Black Lives Matter protestors last year.
Emmanuel “Manny” Wilder pleaded guilty to failure to appear, reckless driving, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace, according to WAVY. Wilder did not hit anyone during the incident.
His attorney argued that Wilder deserved time served – 140 days – for his actions, but the judge, calling Wilder “full of hatred,” sentenced him to three full years in prison.
Wilder sought out a Black Lives Matter protest in Virginia Beach last May, after the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd at the hands of police. He said he was counter-protesting on behalf of the police.
He was driving a red truck near the protests, and was caught on camera several times that day. He was reportedly revving his engine and antagonizing protestors by shouting racial slurs.
After the incident, Wilder fled to Florida, where he was arrested by police in October in a separate incident. By then, he had already missed two court dates in Virginia – one in July for the Black Lives Matter protest incident, and another in September for failure to appear for the first court date.
Wilder was apologetic during his court appearance Thursday.
“I’d change my actions if I could,” he reportedly said. “I am responsible, I have no excuse.”
The nationwide riots over Floyd’s death culminated in several violent incidents.
Black Lives Matter protests often turned into riots, where people were injured millions of dollars of property damage was caused. Protests and riots over Floyd’s death occurred in nearly every one of the top 50 American cities.
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, accused of second-degree murder in Floyd’s death, is set to go on trial in March. Minneapolis is bracing for what it fears will be another round of violence in the city, and with a depleted police force, has asked for outside help from other law enforcement entities.
That help has not been guaranteed, as some of those entities feel that they were unfairly maligned by politicians in the wake of Floyd’s death.
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