The trial for DeAndre Harris, a 20-year-old man who was brutally attacked after the ‘Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville last August, began Friday.
Activists had been calling for charges of misdemeanor assault to be dropped against Harris in recent weeks. On Thursday, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), Black Lives Matter and other activists gathered outside the Charlottesville General District Courthouse, a day before the trial, to push for justice after that ill-fated day on August 12, NBC 29 reported.
How a Black man who was viciously beaten with poles, suffering a broken wrist and staples in his head during the attack, could be standing trial for charges is beyond infuriating to many protesters across the nation.
“DeAndre was abused, physically brutalized less that 500 yards from where we stand,” Lisa Woolfork, a Black Lives Matter member, said Thursday. “Tomorrow, we will see if the courts will continue that brutalization or not and we should all be paying attention because this affects all of us.”
Harris was only defending himself from at least six White supremacists during the videotaped incident in the Market Street Parking Garage following the Unite the Right rally, activists told Commonwealth’s Attorney Joe Platania, who can choose to drop the charges.
Corey Long and Donald Blakney, two men who also face charges related to that August 12 incident, are also getting support from protesters who want charges dropped against them as well. Four other men also face charges in the garage beating incident.
Harris was arrested following the August assault after a man, who alleged that he was a victim and reportedly was a leader for a Neo-Confederate organization, went to police, CNN reported. The young man’s lawyer defended Harris against the charges.
“The city of Charlottesville is allowing these same white supremacists to re-victimize my client DeAndre Harris on the word of a single extremist,” S. Lee Merritt, Harris’ lawyer, said. “His word alone, without any additional evidence, allowed for a warrant to go forward.”
It seems that activists are going to keep fighting for Harris, and the charges may be dropped.