VIRGINIA BEACH (WAVY) — A Chesapeake man who drove his truck into a group of Black Lives Matter protesters last year in Virginia Beach pleaded guilty in the case on Thursday.
Manny Wilder was sentenced to three years active jail time, with Judge John Babineau saying that Wilder was “full of hatred.”
“With it all coming out and [Wilder] being brought to justice, we forgive him. We forgive Manny Wilder,” said JaPharii Jones, leader of Black Lives Matter 757.
Babineau watched a prosecution video showing Wilder’s behavior in an earlier stage of the protest – while he was still on foot near the intersection of Pacific Avenue and 9th Street.
Wilder was shirtless, pants falling down, holding a hatchet and screaming the n-word and obscenities at the peaceful marchers.
It lasted about a minute and then Wilder got in his truck.
Wilder pleaded guilty to several charges, including failure to appear, reckless driving, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace. Wilder’s public defender wanted time served for Wilder, 140 days. But in sentencing Wilder, Babineau said “we can’t tolerate hatred.”
Appearing on video for the court proceeding, Wilder denied he was “full of hatred,” and said “I’d change my actions if I could. I am responsible, I have no excuse.”
Wilder told the judge that he is back on his medications for PTSD now that he’s in jail. He said he had previously been off the medication for “a couple years”.
Jones would like to see reconciliation between his organization and Wilder.
“Ultimately, we want to sit down with him and find out what was going on in his mind at the time, find out why he felt that this was a necessary step to take,” Jones said.
Wilder was spotted on camera multiple times the night of May 31, 2020, revving his truck down the street and yelling at protesters, who took to the streets after the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died at the hands of Minneapolis police on Memorial Day 2020.
All this anger and potential injury or death from a man whose adoptive parents are Black. Jones say that’s understandable.
“Everybody doesn’t agree with our message, even people that look like us. We’d never be ignorant to the fact the everybody does not agree with our messaging. Everybody does not agree with our approach.”
WAVY’s Chopper 10 captured when Wilder sped down the street toward protesters, narrowly missing a protester 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.
Wilder claimed he never sought to hurt anyone that night, but protesters told 10 On Your Side he was yelling racial slurs and was intentionally trying to intimidate them.
Wilder originally showed up late in court over the summer on misdemeanor charges, and later missed his second court appearance, skipping town to go to Florida. He was arrested in Florida and extradited back to Virginia.
As part of Thursday’s sentence, Wilder must reimburse the city for the costs connected to his extradition, which totaled $1,857.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.