Black man faces felony charge after defending himself against neo-Nazis

October 10, 2017, 11:34am

Six white supremacists violently beating a black man in a parking garage was one of many disturbing incidents caught on camera during the striking events surrounding the far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August.

But now 20-year-old DeAndre Harris, who reportedly suffered a concussion, a head laceration that required 10 staples, a broken wrist, and a chipped tooth, is facing a felony charge himself: unlawful wounding for allegedly fighting back.

If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison and be slapped with a $2,500 fine.

On Monday, a local magistrate issued a warrant for Harris’ arrest based on a complaint brought by one of the individuals involved in the melée.

According to a statement provided to local NBC station WVIR, the alleged victim relayed his account of what happened to the magistrate’s office. After a detective from Charlottesville Police Department concluded that the victim was telling the truth, the magistrate issued a warrant for Harris’ arrest.

The Charlottesville PD is withholding the identity of the accuser until Harris is in custody. Harris’ attorney C. Lee Merritt told the Washington Post that the accuser was a member of a white supremacist group, and that the charge was “clearly retaliatory.” He also said it was “highly unusual” that the warrant was issued by the magistrate rather than the local police department.

Merritt said his client would turn himself in within the coming days. The magistrate’s office referred a call from VICE News to the Charlottesville Police Department, which did not respond to a request for information about the charge.

The video that showed a bloodied Harris lying on a parking-garage floor as men in shirts and khakis beat him with sticks went viral.

The media attention Harris received after the fact also put him in the firing line of online hatred from white supremacist sympathizers. His mother, Felicia Harris, told NY Daily News that her son was bombarded with racist messages in the aftermath.

Meanwhile, Alex Michael Ramos and Daniel Borden have both been charged with malicious wounding for attacking Harris. Ramos denies being a white supremacist. His attorney has suggested that Harris dealt the first blow, and right-wing media personalities have advanced the theory that Harris started or provoked the attack.

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