Monday, 20 May, 2019

Black Man Beaten in Charlottesville Rally Acquitted of Attacking White Nationalist

DeAndre Harris 20 was found not guilty of assault Friday DeAndre Harris 20 was found not guilty of assault Friday
Patty Aguilar | 16 March, 2018, 23:41

A black man who was brutally beaten at the "Unite the Right" rally previous year in Charlottesville was found not guilty on Friday of assaulting a white nationalist at the same event.

Video from August 12 showed six men surrounding Mr. Harris, 20, in a parking garage and hitting him with a metal pipe and wooden boards. Moments later, white nationalists, including one dressed in military gear and holding a plastic shield, beat Harris to the point that he had a spinal injury and needed 10 stitches to his head. A complaint by Mr. Crews, a state chairman of the neo-Confederate group League of the South, eventually led the Charlottesville Police Department to issue a warrant for Mr. Harris's arrest, on a felony charge of malicious wounding.

More than 100 of Mr Harris's supporters turned out to hear Charlottesville General District Court Judge Robert Downer read out his verdict on Friday, according to NBC. As he spoke, it was unclear how he'd rule and many attendees - almost all of them Harris supporters-looked anxious and distressed.

Activist groups, including Black Lives Matter-Charlottesville, Congregate Charlottesville, and Showing Up for Racial Justice-Charlottesville have been calling for the charges against Harris to be dropped.

But Mr. Harris testified in court that he saw only what happened after that - Mr. Crews "driving the flag into somebody's torso" - and that he "thought it was being used as a weapon".

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Another counter-protester, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, was killed at the rally when she was struck by a auto -one allegedly driven by white supremacist James Fields. The organization describes itself as a "Southern Nationalist" organization.

Crews also took the witness stand and recounted the events from his point of view.

Mr Harris and several friends travelled to Charlottesville last summer to counter-protest the right-wing rally, which was billed as the largest white supremacist gathering in decades.

When Harris escaped, the report said, he was found by Charlottesville Sheriff James Brown.

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