A black man violently attacked at last summer’s white nationalist rally in Charlottesville was acquitted Friday on charges that he assaulted one of the racists in attendance.
DeAndre Harris was found not guilty on a misdemeanor charge of assault and battery against Harold Crews, the North Carolina chairman of the neo-Confederate hate group League of the South, The Washington Post reported.
The verdict brings an end to a legal rollercoaster for Harris, a 20-year-old former special education teaching assistant, who was pummeled with flagsticks, shields, and pieces of wood by a crowd of white supremacists at the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally.
Video of the parking garage assault on Harris went viral, prompting outrage and a flood of donations to help cover medical bills for his injuries, which included a spinal injury and head lacerations.
Four of the white nationalists who assaulted Harris are currently awaiting trial.
Months later, in October, Crews filed a police report and persuaded a Charlottesville magistrate to issue an arrest warrant against Harris on a felony charge of unlawful wounding. As TPM previously reported, this was made possible thanks to an odd statute in the Virginia state code that allows private citizens to initiate the process of obtaining a warrant.
The charge was later downgraded to a misdemeanor, which would have resulted in a maximum sentence of 12 months in jail and a $2,5000 fine.
The case was based on a few short, chaotic moments of video. In one clip posted on YouTube, Crews and a friend of Harris’ are pulling on either end of a large flagpole. Harris cuts in and appears to swing a flashlight in Crews’ direction. Within minutes, he is chased through the garage and wrestled to the ground, where the brutal beating commences.
Charlottesville General District Court Judge Robert Downer Jr. determined that Harris intervened only to help his friend and did not intend to hit Crews, per the Post.