The acquittal is a relief for Harris, who was viciously beaten inside a parking garage next to the city’s police department on Aug. 12, 2017. He suffered a spinal injury and head lacerations that required 10 stitches.
Harold Crews, a North Carolina attorney and state chairman and Klan head of The League of the South sued Harris for assault
Two months later, his legal path took an unexpected turn when South Carolina Klan leader, Harold Crews filed a police report and then persuaded a Charlottesville magistrate to issue an arrest warrant in October on a felony charge of unlawful wounding, which carries a five-year maximum sentence. The news was cheered online by white nationalists.
Before issuing his ruling, Downer warned the crowd to “restrain” their emotions. As he spoke, it was unclear how he would rule, and many attendees, nearly all of them Harris supporters, looked worried and distressed.
In the end, the judge declared Harris not guilty because he said Harris did not intend to hit Crews and only swung a flashlight at him believing Crews was attacking his friend with a flagpole.
YouTube footage from the rally shows a complicated sequence of events that led up to Harris’s beating, right outside the Market Street parking garage, where dozens of members from the League of the South and Traditionalist Worker Party converged with counter-protesters.
A horde of White supremacists bearing flag poles and plastic shields converge on Harris
A cell phone video captured a group of white men savagely pounding on Harris with metal flag poles, umbrellas and plastic shields.
In one piece of YouTube footage, Crews is clasping a large flagpole in front of a black protester, who is tugging on the other end. As the two of them tussle over the pole, Harris swings a flashlight at Crews, appearing to strike him on the head or shoulder.
Moments later, several white nationalists — one of them dressed in military tactical gear and holding a plastic shield — storm into the garage, chasing Harris and forcing him to the ground, where he was brutally pummeled.
Emergency room doctors later used eight staples to seal DeAndre’s head [photo], back together. He also suffered a broken wrist, chipped his tooth and busted his lip.
The footage of the 20-year-old’s beating went viral. The sheer ferocity of the assault heightened the public outcry over the rally that also included the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, a counter-protester who was allegedly run over by white supremacist, James Alex Fields Jr., 21 at the rally organized by white nationalists to oppose the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue from Emancipation Park, in Charlottesville.
After the event, critics questioned the strategy and planning of the Charlottesville police department, whose officers frequently stood off to the side and did not try to halt the skirmishes or get between the protesters and the counter-protesters.
An independent review commissioned by the city found law enforcement planning for the event was “inadequate and disconnected”. The report concluded that the officers’ lack of preparation led to “disastrous” consequences.
The report said that after Harris swung his flashlight at Crews and ran into the garage, he either tripped or was pushed to the ground, leaving him “defenseless against a mob of angry Alt-Right demonstrators” who mauled him with flagsticks, shields and pieces of wood.
Police arrested and charged teen white supremacist, Daniel Borden, 19, for his part in the violent beating of a DeAndre Harris at the Charlottesville white supremacist “Unite The Right” rally. He is yet to be tried.
Online sleuths, and activists eventually helped track down the identities and whereabouts of several of Harris’s assailants: Jacob Scott Goodwin of Arkansas, Daniel Borden, 19, of Ohio, Alex Michael Ramos of Georgia, and Tyler Watkins Davis, of Florida. Their trials are scheduled for late April and early May, though Davis’s trial has not been set yet.