Judge Rules in Case of Man Beaten by White Supremacists

DeAndre Harris acquitted of assaulting white nationalist in Charlottesville
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2018 2:14 PM CDT
Brynn Cook joins other protesters outside the courthouse before the trial of DeAndre Harris at the Charlottesville District Court on Friday, March 16, 2018 in Charlottesville, Va.   (Zack Wajsgras/The Daily Progress via AP)
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(Newser) – A black man beaten up by a gang of white supremacists last August in Charlottesville only to later be charged himself with assault was found not guilty Friday, the Washington Post reports. According to Al Jazeera, 20-year-old DeAndre Harris was attacked by at least six white nationalists in a parking garage during the Unite the Right rally. Harris was left with a spine injury and 10 stitches to his head; the video of the assault went viral. Two months later, a warrant was issued for Harris' arrest after Harold Crews, a member of the white nationalist group League of the South, accused him of assault. Video showed Harris swinging a flashlight at Crews, who was holding a flagpole, prior to the assault in a parking garage.

Harris argued self-defense in the altercation with Crews. His attorney told the court Harris thought Crews was using the flagpole as a weapon against another protester, WVIR reports. Harris himself said he was trying to break the flagpole with the flashlight. On Friday, Judge Robert Downer Jr. acquitted Harris of misdemeanor assault and battery—it had been reduced from a felony charge—because it couldn't be proven Harris meant to hit Crews with the flashlight and he was trying to protect a friend. Over 100 people gathered at the courtroom Friday in support of Harris. "People are carrying real hate in their hearts for the Black Community,” Harris has previously written. "And I refuse to just let it happen.” Four white supremacists charged in the assault on Harris are awaiting trial. (Read more Charlottesville, Va. stories.)

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