Black Man Beaten in Charlottesville Acquitted of Assaulting White Nationalist

Danny Woods
March 18, 2018

DeAndre Harris, the African-American man brutally beaten by a group of white nationalists at last summer's Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, has been cleared of misdemeanor assault and battery charges. The incident occurred outside a parking garage, shortly before a brawl between protesters and counterprotesters in the garage, during which Harris was beaten badly by several white supremacists.

He suffered a spinal injury and needed 10 stitches from the attack.

"I got eight staples in my head, I got a cut [above my eyebrow], a busted lip, I broke my wrist, a chipped tooth", he said.

In a Charlottesville courtroom on Friday, Mr Downer told anxious observers that Mr Harris was not guilty of assault because he did not mean to strike Mr Crews.

Photos and videos of the August 12 attack on Harris by a group of men in a parking garage were widely shared online. As Long and Crews tussle over the pole, Harris, standing next to Long, swings a flashlight at Crews, whose head snaps back to the right, appearing as though he'd been struck on the head or shoulder.

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A judge ruled that Harris didn't intend to hit Crews and only swung the flashlight because he believed that Crews was attacking his friend with a flagpole, according to the Washington Post.

"DeAndre Harris' acquittal today shows he never should have been charged with a crime in the first place", the group Black Lives Matter - Charlottesville said in a statement.

The assault occurred before white supremacist James Alex Fields allegedly drove his vehicle into a crowd, injuring dozens and killing 32-year-old counter protester Heather Heyer. The driver, James A. Fields Jr. Instead, the judge said, he was attempting to protect his friend, whom he thought Mr Crews was attacking.

The white nationalist rally was planned in part to protest the city's decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

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