In a summer of marches over police misconduct, 104 incidents were recorded in which people drove vehicles into protestors. Of the drivers, 8 were at the wheel of a police car. Prosecutors determined that 43 of the incidents were malicious, and have charged 39 drivers. At least two victims died and many were injured.
One of the more "clear-cut" cases of malice, MacNab said, was in early June in Lakeside, Virginia. An "avowed Klansman" drove up to protesters on a roadway, revved his engine, then drove through the crowd, wounding one person, Henrico County Commonwealth's Attorney Shannon Taylor said in a statement. The 36-year-old man was "a propagandist of Confederate ideology," Taylor said. He was charged with four counts of assault with hate crimes, two counts of felonious attempted malicious wounding and one count of felony hit and run.
"We lived through this in Virginia in Charlottesville in 2017," Taylor said, referring to when a neo-Nazi plowed his car through a crowd of counterprotesters at a Unite the Right rally, killing Heather Heyer. The driver was sentenced to life in prison on hate crime charges.
Vehicular homicide as a terror tactic was "popularized" in the last decade by the Islamic State, but its biggest fans are now American conservatives. According to the story, Twitter promised to block the "All Lives Splatter" hashtag but, for whatever reason, didn't follow through. Video compilations of protestors being struck by vehicles, invariably framed for racist and right-wing audiences, rack up millions of views on YouTube.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently proposed legislation that would provide protections to drivers who ram protestors, repeating a political stunt that failed in 2017.