A white man who shot into a car full of Black teenage girls after a Trump rally in Des Moines, Iowa, was sentenced up to 10 years in prison.
Michael McKinney, 26, pleaded guilty in June to intimidation with a dangerous weapon and willful injury in the Dec. 6 shooting he perpetrated after attending a Trump rally near the state Capitol, according to the Associated Press. At some point, the girls and rally attendees were going back and forth with insults and it didn’t take long for the vehicle to be surrounded by Trump supporters. The girls apparently tried to back up and ended up hitting a pickup truck.
That was when McKinney, who served in the U.S. Army and was wearing body armor and carrying several guns, shot into the vehicle and hit a then-15-year-old girl in the leg. He claims he felt he was in danger and therefore protected himself. The girl, on the other hand, said in court that she felt in fear for her life that day, the Des Moines Register reported.
Here is more on McKinney’s case, per the AP:
McKinney, who has been in custody since his arrest, apologized to the girl and said he used poor judgment that day.
Authorities downplayed the political and racial context of the shooting, saying it grew out of a traffic dispute. The rally was sponsored by Women for America First, the pro-Trump group that later hosted the Jan. 6 rally in Washington, D.C., before the Capitol riot.
Trump supporters criticized authorities for charging McKinney, arguing that his shot protected rallygoers by scaring the car away and noting that McKinney frequented pro-police “Back the Blue” rallies.
The judge went easy onMcKinney, according to the AP. Because of his lack of a criminal record and honorable discharge from the military, his two sentences were ordered to run concurrently for up to a maximum of 10 years. Also, there is no mandatory minimum McKinney has to serve before he becomes eligible for parole.