Black man risks arrest for defending himself against white supremacists

DeAndre Harris, the black man who was brutally beaten in a parking garage during a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in August is now facing an arrest warrant related to the attack, Virginia police said Monday.

In a statement, the Charlottesville Police Department said that DeAndre Harris, 20, was wanted for unlawful wounding in connection with the August 12 assault, according to NBC affiliate WVIR.

The beating, which was captured on camera occurred after a white supremacist tried to spear a counter-protester with a flag pole, the Washington Post reported in August. Then, Harris — a former special education instructional assistant — swung a flashlight at the man, possibly striking him, according to the Post. Several white men then descended on Harris, and images showed them kicking and hitting him with what appeared to be poles while he’s curled up on the ground.

“Every time I went to stand up I was knocked back down,” Harris’ online account says, adding that he said he suffered several serious injuries. An account of the beating posted to a fundraising website started by Harris said that he was chased and repeatedly knocked unconscious.

The arrest warrant against Harris was issued after an unidentified victim went to a local magistrate’s office, offered an alternative account of events and claimed to have been injured by Harris. Police have refused to identify the alleged victim, but did say a detective confirmed the injury.

To date, two of Harris’ attackers have been arrested and charged with malicious wounding: 18-year-old Daniel Borden, of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Alex Ramos, 33, of Marrietta, Georgia, according to WVIR.

Charlottesville Police Department spokesman Lt. Steve Upman did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.

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.

Harris’ warrant was issued two days after several dozen white nationalists again descended on Charlottesville for a brief rally at Emancipation Park, where a tarp covers the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Facebook Comments