Man gets 3 years for driving truck toward Black Lives Matter protesters in Virginia


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NewsNation Now) — A Virginia man was sentenced to three years in jail for brandishing a hatchet and driving his truck toward a group of Black Lives Matter protesters.

Emanuel “Manny” Wilder, 20, was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty to all charges against him, NewsNation affiliate WAVY reported. He was also ordered to pay $1,856 to cover the costs connected to his extradition. Wilder was arrested in Lake City, Florida, last year after he failed to appear for trial in Virginia Beach.

The incident happened on May 31, 2020 near the Oceanfront boardwalk area in Virginia Beach, where Black Lives Matter protesters gathered to march against the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.

WAVY’s helicopter captured when Wilder sped down the street toward protesters, narrowly missing a demonstrator in the middle of the road.

“We were just 3 feet away from another Charlottesville,” said prosecutor Janee Joslin, a reference to the 2017 death of protester Heather Heyer when a man drove into a crowd.

In court, Wilder was seen on video shirtless, wielding a hatchet and yelling racial obscenities at the group of protesters. In another video, he was seen driving his red pickup truck toward the group.

Virginia Beach District Court Judge Jon Babineau said Wilder “was acting in a totally irrational manner, full of hatred.”

Defense attorney Otis Forbes said Wilder suffered from post traumatic stress disorder stemming from a childhood issue but he wasn’t taking any medication at the time. Forbes also said Wilder went to Florida because he was “homeless” and had nowhere else to go.

Wilder was charged with failure to appear in court, reckless driving, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace.

Wilder apologized for his actions in court and told the judge he was being medicated and had signed up for therapy.

Forbes asked that Wilder be sentenced to time served but the judge disagreed, saying the defendant was out in public yelling racial obscenities while wielding a hatchet.

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

JaPharii Jones, leader of Black Lives Matter 757, expressed forgiveness after Wilder’s sentencing.

“With it all coming out and [Wilder] being brought to justice, we forgive him,” Jones said. “We forgive Manny Wilder.”

The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate WAVY contributed to this report.

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