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Warrant Issued For Black Man Assaulted By White Nationalists In Charlottesville

Police have filed charges against one of the people injured at the Aug. 12 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., according to AOL.

Deandre Harris, 20, an African-American man who joined other anti-racism counter-protesters at the event, suffered lacerations on his head as well as a concussion, broken wrist and chipped tooth when a group of white nationalists kicked him and assaulted him with a metal pipe and wooden boards. The attack, in a parking garage just outside the University of Virginia campus, was captured in a video that went viral.

On Monday, police put out a warrant for Harris’ arrest for “unlawful wounding” after one of the assailants alleged that the African-American man injured him during the melee. Authorities did not reveal the accuser’s identity. Two others who could be seen in the video — Daniel Borden, 18, of Ohio and Michael Ramos, 33, of Georgia — are facing “malicious wounding” charges.

At a September hearing for Ramos in a Virginia court, his lawyer claimed that Harris “struck the first blow in that fracas.” According to the attorney representing Harris, S. Lee Merritt, his client’s actions were “clearly retaliatory.” He told The Washington Post: “We find it highly offensive and upsetting, but what’s more jarring is that he’s been charged with the same crime as the men who attacked him.”

Merritt called it “highly unusual” that a magistrate, not law-enforcement officials, issued the warrant for Harris’ arrest. In a press release, the Charlottesville Police Department claimed that it actually issued the warrant at the magistrate’s request. “The victim went to the magistrate’s office, presented the facts of what occurred and attempted to obtain the warrant,” the release stated. “The magistrate requested that a detective respond and verify these facts. A Charlottesville Police Department detective did respond, verified the facts and a warrant for unlawful wounding was issued.”

AOL noted that white supremacists are applauding the felony charge against Harris. On Monday, some of them “openly celebrated on Twitter,” according to the website. Others are expressing outrage on social media.

The rally made headlines because of the bloodshed that occurred. Many injuries resulted from clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters. A woman died and dozens of other people were injured when a man plowed his car into a crowd. The Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other groups organized the event to oppose a plan by Charlottesville officials to remove a statue honoring Civil War Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a city park. A prosecutor has charged the car’s driver, James Alex Fields Jr., with second-degree murder.

The New York Times reported that right-wing activists had been calling for Harris’ arrest, alleging that he started the brawl. Merritt said the white man who filed the complaint against his client sustained injuries in another fight in which Harris was not involved. The lawyer claimed that the group of white nationalists chased, surrounded, then beat Harris. “While he participated in some of the jeering of the white supremacists in his city, letting them know they were not welcome there, he did not instigate any physical assault,” Merritt said. “That was done by the men carrying blunt objects and weapons.”

Source: AOL
Photo: YouTube

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