Richard Wilson Preston Jr., the man who was recently arrested for firing a weapon in a crowd of people in during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, is a Ku Klux Klan member.
In a report from the Associated Press, Preston has been charged with discharging a firearm within 1,000 feet (300 meters) of a school during the rally by local authorities in Charlottesville. On Monday, the 52-year-old told a judge that he would not fight extradition from his home city of Baltimore to Charlottesville.
However, in light of the charge, it has become known that Preston is an imperial wizard of the KKK. Back in 2013, an article and video from the News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware, showed Preston in KKK garb calling for the impeachment of former President Barack Obama. He recently spoke with an Indiana TV station in the days after Charlottesville’s deadly protests and blamed the city’s mayor for the unrest.
“We didn’t go there as the Klan,” Preston told WANE-TV in Fort Wayne. “We didn’t go there to create havoc in a fight. We were there to protect the monument.”
Preston also faced several assault charges in the early 2000s, although he was not convicted for any of them, according to court records in Maryland.
The news that Preston is a KKK member surprised one of his black neighbors, Kay Chapman, who reportedly described him as “very respectful” and was surprised by the video footage of him shooting into the crowd.
However, Brandon Scott, a black city councilman who lives near Preston’s home, said the video is proof that racism still exists and that counter protests are necessary.
“It’s not surprising to me,” Scott said. “But for all of these folks saying people shouldn’t be protesting, this is the perfect example of why they should be.”