A mob of “heavily armed” Trump supporters and so-called patriots created an atmosphere of “extreme tension” last year in Douglas County. That is according to a criminal defense attorney who attended the early August Black Lives Matter [BLM] rally in Minden.
The angry mob of hundreds surrounded a group of about 25 people, many of whom were adolescents, and a truck driven by Timothy Moore drove into the BLM group.
“[The] majority were counter protesters, 90% armed to the hilt,” the attorney recently testified in East Fork Justice Court. “It was very frightening. Hundreds if not a thousand or more people were carrying weapons while masked. Black Lives Matter was very tiny. The vehicle almost hit me.”
She further said the BLM group “could not stay anywhere [and was] being forced and pushed from place to place by counter protestors. People were shocked because it had been very peaceful up until this point and now there’s a car coming into the crowd. People got very upset.”
Moore, 19, of Douglas County, was sentenced to 90 days in jail for driving into the BLM group, an act that instantly inflamed tensions, according to those testifying in court. He can serve 60 of those days in jail on the weekends–turning himself on Friday and remaining jailed through Sunday. He also had his driving privileges suspended for 60 days.
Moore’s attorney Roger O’Donnell said, “he wasn’t trying to mow over pedestrians.”
But presiding Judge Cassandra Jones admonished Moore when she sentenced him to jail–in part because undercover officers were also part of the crowd.
“We should celebrate our differences,” she said. “You’re lucky no one was hurt. You’re lucky that in a crowd of blue lives matter supporters, Black Lives Matter, undercover officers [and] observers, that no one’s foot got stuck under your wheel.”
Moore’s Facebook account shows an image posted on May 1 that says, “White Lives Matter,” and a photo of Kyle Rittenhouse, who is facing murder charges in Wisconsin, saying he is “one of ours.” Moore testified to the court that he did not remember those posts, even though they were still published on his Facebook page.
The protest made international headlines. Douglas County Sheriff Dan Coverley originally denied anyone was hurt or assaulted during the protest, but videos from the day show the mob encircling the BLM group, hurling racist insults and threatening violence.
An undercover investigator testified that Moore could have turned right prior to coming into contact with the protesters, and that he told the defendant multiple times to stop as he drove through the protesters.
“[Black Lives Matter protesters] could not have cleared the area in time to avoid being struck by the vehicle,” he said. “Counter protestors were extremely, heavily armed. I did not see any of the BLM protestors [who] were armed.”
Moore’s attorney said he should not receive a punishment because he “drove poorly.”
Video of the incident was shot by Kelsey Penrose, reporter for Carson Now.
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. In addition to managing This Is Reno, he holds a part-time appointment for the Mineral County University of Nevada Extension office.