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Virginia man sentenced to 3 years for driving truck toward BLM protesters

Virginia man sentenced to 3 years for driving truck toward BLM protesters

A Virginia man was sentenced to three years in jail on Thursday after pleading guilty to displaying a hatchet and driving his truck toward a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters.

Twenty-year-old Emanuel "Manny" Wilder on Thursday was ordered by substitute Virginia Beach District Court Judge Jon Babineau to pay $1,856 in addition to his sentence to cover the cost of his extradition from Florida, according to The Virginian-Pilot.

Wilder was charged with and pleaded guilty to five misdemeanors including reckless driving, using abusive language, disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct and two counts of failing to appear in court, according to the newspaper. 

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Wilder was arrested in Lake City, Fla., last year after failing to appear for trial in Virginia Beach, Va.

The Virginia man was charged for an incident that took place during a Black Lives Matter demonstration organized to protest the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer held him down and placed his knee on Floyd's neck for several minutes.

Prosecutor Janee Joslin shared two videos in court depicting Wilder shirtless with a hatchet in hand and yelling racial slurs at protesters. One video also showed Wilder driving his red pickup truck toward the group, the news outlet noted.

“He was acting in a totally irrational manner, full of hatred,” Babineau said of the videos, according to The Virginian-Pilot. “This could easily have been a situation in which there were multiple fatalities.”

Wilder's attorney Otis Forbes stated that the 20-year-old suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and had not been taking any medication for it at the time of the incident. Forbes also said that Wilder was “basically homeless” and traveled to Florida because he didn't have anywhere else to stay, according to The Virginian-Pilot.

Wilder also apologized for his actions and stated that he had signed up for therapy and began taking medication.

Forbes pushed for Wilder to be given time served, however, Babineau denied the request, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

“We can not tolerate hatred in the community,” Babineau said.