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Black Man Attacked During Charlottesville Rally Faces Felony Charge, Expected to Turn Himself In

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DeAndre Harris (bottom) is assaulted in a parking garage beside the Charlottesville police station after a white nationalist rally was disbursed by police, in Charlottesville, Va. (Zach D. Roberts via AP)

A Black man beaten by a group of white nationalists during the violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va. this summer has been charged with an alleged assault, police announced Monday, Oct. 9.

DeAndre Harris, 20, was attacked with a metal pipe and wooden boards during the Aug. 12 rally as confrontations between white supremacists and counter-protesters reached a fever pitch. The brutal assault, which left Harris severely battered and bloodied, was captured in photos and on video, sparking a nationwide effort to identify the group of assailants.

On Monday, however, local authorities issued a warrant for Harris’ arrest and charged him with unlawful wounding — a felony offense, The New York Times reported. Two of Harris’ attackers, Alex Michael Ramos, 33, and Daniel P. Borden, 18, were charged with the same crime for their role in his attack, in which the young man suffered a concussion, abrasions and a head laceration that required staples.

A statement given to police by one of the other attackers, Harold Ray Crews, paints Harris as the instigator, an allegation his lawyer has strongly denied. Charlottesville police said Harris’ alleged “victim” went to the Magistrate’s office, told them what’d happened and tried to obtain a warrant. That’s when the magistrate contacted police, who verified the victim’s claims and issued a warrant for Harris’ arrest.

A malicious wounding charge is a felony offense carrying up to five years behind bars, according to the newspaper. Harris’ lawyer, S. Lee Merritt, said Tuesday, Oct. 10 that his client will turn himself into police in the coming days.

Merritt said that the person who brought the complaint against his client had been injured in a separate altercation and that the charge was baseless. In a statement, he added there was video evidence showing Crews, a member of neo-Confederate group “League of the South,” in a scuffle with a group of white men after his confrontation with Harris.

This is reportedly when Crews sustained his injuries. Harris was not present.

“These facts would’ve been revealed and charges likely would have not been filed had the Charlottesville Police Department been allowed to follow the normal investigative procedures when an individual makes a criminal complaint,” Merritt said in an emailed statement. “Instead, Mr. Crews was allowed to exploit the judicial system by bypassing CPD and presenting incomplete and misleading evidence directly to a magistrate judge who in turned issued the warrant for Mr. Harris’ arrest without a proper investigation.”

Activists and other supporters are still working to identify those involved in Harris’ attack.

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