On Friday, the American criminal-justice system actually got something right; as it turns out, DeAndre Harris, the black man who was brutally beaten during the Charlottesville, Va., Unite the Right white supremacist rally, was found not guilty of assaulting a white nationalist.
Last year, Harris, who was counterprotesting the infamous rally, was cornered and attacked by white supremacists in a parking garage. He sustained multiple injuries, including a broken wrist and staples in his head. Yet for some reason, Harris was charged with felony counts as well as misdemeanor assault following his own beating. The felony charges were ultimately dropped, but he was still forced to stand trial for the misdemeanor.
However, on the same day Harris went to trial, he was immediately acquitted. Charlottesville General District Court Judge Robert Downer Jr. found Harris, 20, not guilty. Had Harris been convicted, he would have faced up to 12 months in jail along with a $2,500 fine for allegedly striking Harold Crews, a North Carolina attorney and state chairman of the League of the South, the Washington Post reports.
However, Downer declared that Harris did not intend to strike Crews and only swung a flashlight at him because he believed that Crews was hitting his friends with a flagpole.
(Come THROUGH, Downer!)
Racists White nationalists and their minions had attempted to use footage of what happened prior to Harris’ beating as an attempt to discredit the 20-year-old. YouTube video, the Post notes, showed the moments before Harris was attacked.
In one clip, Crews is seen holding a large flagpole in front of a black protester, who is pulling on the other end. As the two grapple over the pole, Harris swings his flashlight, seemingly hitting Crews on his head or shoulder.
Moments later, several white supremacists cornered Harris in the garage and brutally took him to the ground, attacking him.
As stated, Harris suffered severe injuries, only to be treated as a criminal afterward. His friends and family started a GoFundMe to help pay for his medical expenses, a campaign that raised a whopping $166,045.
Hopefully, now that his legal trial has been tossed out once and for all, he can truly start to move on from the horrifying ordeal ... as much as he can, at least, as the people who attacked him await their own trials.
“I think for them to be allowed to come here and protest is really crazy. How do you expect the KKK to come to your city to protest, and them not be violent? I understand everyone is entitled to their freedom of speech, but the government and the mayor made a bad business move. It’s only caused havoc in your own city. It’s crazier that people have the hatred in their heart to want to kill black people,” Harris told The Root’s Yesha Callahan in an interview after his attack.