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USA: Black man attacked at white nationalist rally in Charlottesville faces felony charge

Tuesday 10 October 2017, by siawi3


Black man attacked at white nationalist rally in Charlottesville faces felony charge

By Derek Hawkins

October 10 at 5:13 AM

Video 58’: A group of six men violently beat DeAndre Harris, a counterprotester, in a parking garage next to the Charlottesville Police Department on Aug. 12 after a white nationalist rally was dispersed by police. Editor’s note: This video contains graphic content. (Twitter/ChuckModi1)

A black man brutally beaten at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville is now facing a felony charge related to the August attack.

A local magistrate on Monday issued an arrest warrant for DeAndre Harris on an unlawful wounding charge after an accuser, whom police did not identify, claimed to have been injured by the 20-year-old during the brawl, authorities told local media.

S. Lee Merritt, a civil attorney for Harris, told The Washington Post the charge was “clearly retaliatory” and described the accuser as a member of a white supremacist group. He maintained that Harris did not instigate the fight.

“We find it highly offensive and upsetting, but what’s more jarring is that he’s been charged with the same crime as the men who attacked him,” he said.

Merritt added that it was “highly unusual” for the warrant to come from a magistrate rather than police, and suggested that the accuser had previously tried to implicate Harris in the violence without success. He said his client would turn himself into police in the coming days.

In a statement provided to WVIR, the Charlottesville Police Department said the alleged victim went to the magistrate’s office in person to explain what happened. After discussing the accuser’s story with a detective, the magistrate issued the warrant.

Harris was marching in opposition to the rally on Aug. 12 when a scuffle broke out between a group of white supremacists and several counterprotesters at a downtown parking garage.

[Finding the white supremacists who beat a black man in Charlottesville]

Videos from the scene showed a white supremacist thrusting a Confederate flag pole at a counterprotester and Harris swinging a flashlight at the man. Six white supremacists then descended on Harris, kicking him and striking him with wooden sticks as he lay curled up on the pavement, as The Post has reported.

Images of the brawl and Harris’s bloodied face went viral, prompting a frenzied campaign on social media to identify his attackers.

Two men were later arrested in the attack on Harris, who said he suffered a concussion, a head laceration that required 10 staples and other injuries. Both were charged with malicious wounding, a felony.
Alex Michael Ramos (AP)

One of them, 33-year-old Alex Michael Ramos of Georgia, was identified after he posted about the incident on Facebook. He said in a television interview that the attack was “defensive” and denied being a white supremacist, as The Post has reported.

“I was there because, pretty much, I’m a conservative,” he said. “There were some non-racist members who were going to a free speech rally.”

At a court hearing in September, Ramos’s attorney said, “it may have been Mr. Harris who struck the first blow in that fracas,” according to the Daily Progress.

The “Unite the Right” rally was organized by conservative blogger Jason Kessler after Charlottesville officials voted to remove a monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a downtown park.

The event drew an assortment of white nationalists, white supremacists, neo-Nazis and members of the alt-right, as well as throngs of counterprotesters. During the demonstrations, a car plowed into a group of counterprotesters, killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring many others.

James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old Nazi sympathizer, was charged with second-degree murder in the hit-and-run. Scores of other people were injured in street skirmishes throughout the day.



Police Issue Warrant for Black Man Beaten by White Supremacists in Charlottesville

By Graham Lanktree

On 10/10/17 at 8:46 AM

Police in Charlottesville, Virginia, have an arrest warrant out for an African-American man who was beaten during a violent white supremacist in rally in the city in August.

Twenty-year-old DeAndre Harris is now wanted by police. He appeared in a widely circulated video on social media being beaten with sticks by a group of men during the August 12 “Unite the Right” rally that left counterprotester Heather Heyer dead and dozens injured after they were rammed by a car.

Harris is accused of attacking one of the men who beat him.

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10_10_DeAndreHarris_Warrant A judge has issued a warrant for the arrest of DeAndre Harris, 20, who was beaten during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12. Dre Harris/GoFundMe

A judge issued the warrant for Harris, who is accused of malicious wounding after “the victim went to the magistrate’s office, presented the facts of what occurred and attempted to obtain the warrant,” said a Charlottesville Police Department release.

A detective at the department verified the accuser’s story, and the judge issued the warrant.

Civil rights lawyer Lee Merritt, who is representing Harris, told broadcaster WCPO 9 his client will turn himself in within 24 hours and that the charge is “clearly retaliatory” after Harris and several other activists used social media to identify the suspects. In September, Merritt launched a crowdfunding page to identify Harris’s attackers.

Two men, Alex Michael Ramos and Daniel Borden, have both been charged with malicious wounding for attacking Harris.

In August, The Washington Post reported that Harris swung a flashlight and may have struck a white supremacist who tried to spear him with the pole of a Confederate flag while he was being attacked. It’s not clear if this is the same person who sought the warrant against Harris.

Related: “Neo-Nazi cowards” return to Charlottesville with torches to stage white nationalist protest

“I was diagnosed with a concussion, an ulnar fracture, and had to receive eight staples in my head,” Harris wrote on a crowdfunding page to raise money for his medical bills following the attack. “I also have a laceration across my right eyebrow, abrasions on my knees & elbows, and a chipped tooth,” he said.

The page raised $166,055, more than tripling its original $50,000 goal. “I’m so blessed to be alive to tell my story and to show the world that racism is very much still alive,” Harris said.

After the rally, President Donald Trump drew criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike for saying that “both sides” were responsible for violence during the rally. It was attended by avowed neo-Nazis and members of the KKK. Trump’s response was praised by white supremacists.

The arrest warrant for Harris follows another protest in Charlottesville on Saturday, October 8, organized by white nationalist Richard Spencer. He was joined by leaders in neo-Nazi groups and the white nationalist organization Identity Evropa.

In the August event that led to violence, about 30 men encircled a statue of Confederate Civil War General Robert E. Lee to prevent it from being relocated. The group chanted, “We will be back."