You may remember the story of DeAndre Harris. The black Charlottesville, Va., resident was brutally beaten and severely wounded by white supremacists in August in a parking garage attack during the Unite the Right rally.
Well, despite the fact that Harris was the one who was viciously attacked and left with a broken wrist and staples in his head (among other injuries), it will be Harris who will face a trial starting Friday after being charged with misdemeanor assault following his own damn beating.
Harris had also faced felony charges as a result of the attack, but back in December, those charges were dropped.
Local residents have called for Commonwealth Attorney Joe Platania to drop the misdemeanor charges against Harris. There are also two other black men—Corey Long and Donald Blakney—who are being charged with committing crimes while defending themselves from white supremacists. Platania, meanwhile, has roundly refused to do so.
The community—including Black Lives Matter Charlottesville, Congregate Charlottesville, Showing up for Racial Justice Charlottesville and other local groups—is planning to come together Thursday evening to attend a vigil in support of the three men and demand justice on their behalf.
Activists plan to meet in front of the Charlottesville General District Courthouse at 4:30 p.m. to demand that all charges be dropped.
“These charges are part of a broader strategy employed by white supremacists to weaponize the courts against Black people by first inciting violence, and then pressing charges,” Lisa Woolfork, an organizer with BLM Charlottesville, said in a press release.
“The verdict in DeAndre’s case, as well as the upcoming cases against Corey Long and Donald Blakney, will signal to white supremacists whether Charlottesville is a place where these tactics work,” she continued. “These court decisions will thus be critically important for the highly likely Unite the Right ‘reunion’ in August 2018, telling white supremacists, with either support or censure from the courts, if they are free to unleash havoc in our community with a certain degree of immunity from the harm they cause.”
“We hope that the vigil will show the Charlottesville community’s widespread support for DeAndre Harris, and our outrage at his unjust treatment in the courts. DeAndre showed up to defend this community on August 12th; now it’s our turn to show up and defend him,” Grace Aheron, an organizer with SURJ Charlottesville, said, according to the statement.