Thread by @kd_noodle: "It's been 2 years since #Charlottesville. Today, I want to talk about one incident from that day that stuck with me. The following is brie [...]" #charlottesville #deandreharris #heatherheyer
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It's been 2 years since #Charlottesville. Today, I want to talk about one incident from that day that stuck with me. The following is brief analysis of the DeAndre Harris attack at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12th, 2017.
When Unite the Right was ordered to disperse from Lee Park, activists including those involved or associated with the National Front Coalition were forced to exit the park & into the streets which had become filled with counter-protesters, Antifa and BLM.
With little police protection, the UtR protesters began making their way through East Market Street. Some of the counter-protesters stalked them as they moved down the street.
One of the counter-protesters swings a stick around his head clumsily and appears to be under the influence. Additionally, a billy club is held aloft by one member, who makes various threats along with the rest of the group to intimidate or instigate conflict with UtR protestors.
One of these counter-protestors, DeAndre Harris, can be seen marching alongside a group of black activists with his face covered by neckerchief. Video evidence demonstrates he arrived as a member of this group. One member of the group is carrying a Pan-African/ UNIA flag.
Harris attended the rally with black activist Corey Long, seen throughout the riots starting a series of fires with an aerosol can and a lighter. Earlier, Long had directed his makeshift flamethrower towards a group of UtR protestors carrying Confederate flags, causing a panic.
A protestor fired a warning shot at the ground, escalating the chaos further. Surrounding activists assaulted one of the protesters, stole his Confederate flag, and Long burned it in the street.
Outside the Market Street Parking Garage near the Charlottesville Police Department building, Harris, Long and their group attempted to steal another Confederate flag from a group they had been following. This started a tug of war...
... as captured in a since-deleted video by Buzzfeed News.
... between Harold Ray Crews of the League of the South and Long for the flag. Eventually, Harris pulls out a large flashlight which he had been seen holding earlier in the day. Harris then swings the flashlight at Crews. Harris strikes Crews across his head and left shoulder...
Harris’ actions were taken seriously by surrounding UtR protesters, who responded quickly by unleashing a can of pepper spray, which filled the parking lot entrance, causing disorientation and chaos as the fight unfolded.
One of Harris’ group attempts to flee and leaps into Harris, knocking Harris to the floor. As Harris’ gets back up, some of his group attack a UtR protestor in a white helmet who falls to the ground unconscious, provoking an all-out brawl between both sides.
As Harris attempts to flee, he is quickly surrounded and his infamous beating occurs. Harris is struck from all angles by poles, pipes and wooden boards. Eventually, his assailants relent and Harris scrambles to his feet, stumbling over himself several times, dazed and afraid-
The UtR protestors loudly warn DeAndre to leave and he runs away.
Charlottesville Police Department was present on the scene, however video documentation shows they did little to prevent the escalation of violence. Occasionally they can be seen chastising violent protestors outside the parking lot and sometimes meekly attempt to break-up fights
Fights which end on account of their presence and not their actions. As the parking lot battle occurred, officers did not get involved and instead preoccupied themselves observing various street fights, occasionally yelling at the combatants.
The disorganized and apathetic police response to the violence left protesters and counter-protesters with the responsibility of defending themselves. Harris’ injuries were treated by volunteer street medics on the scene...
... as proper emergency medical treatment was not made available by the Charlottesville police. Eventually he was taken to the hospital.
The DeAndre Harris beating became a social media phenomenon and news of the incident quickly went viral. In particular, photojournalist Zach Roberts’ shots of the fights were shared rapidly as a narrative about Harris’ innocence spread.
Clips from Chuck Modi’s livestream were used frequently in news reports, but only the part of the stream immediately following the fight for the flag and the flashlight assault. Local TV claimed “It starts with a man on the ground”
Harris suffered a concussion, a massive head injury requiring eight staples, a chipped tooth and a broken arm. The Charlottesville Police Department, the Virgina State Police, and the FBI began investigations into the assault.
Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King launched an Internet campaign to identify the men involved in the beating. This led to the identifying of Daniel Borden by citizen journalist group Bellingcats. Borden was an 18 year old member of the TWS.
Days after Borden was charged by police, a warrant went out for Alex Michael Ramos, a Puerto-Rican activist associated with non-racist civic nationalist groups such as the III%ers and the First Order of Alt-Knights.
Then, Jacob Scott Goodwin of Arkansas ShieldWall Network was extradited from his state. All three were charged with malicious wounding. More would follow.
As this happened, DeAndre was setting up a GoFundMe asking for $50,000 for medical expenses and ended up making over $166,000 in donations. Though he promised to spend the money on medical expenses only, it took only months for him to use the money to buy himself...
The Benz and Jordans can be seen in one video, as well as DeAndre drinking cough syrup mixed with soda (lean) with gang members. DeAndre’s mother is also present in the video as well as hundred dollar bills which are strewn throughout the various scenes.
Harris and others are wearing shirts with a picture of his own bloodied face on it.
While DeAndre was making his fortune off his version of events in tear-filled interviews, which were never questioned seriously by journalists, the arrested UtR protesters were in jail and to be tried in Charlottesville, denying their right to a fair trial.
The United Nations condemned the “terrible beating of Mr. DeAndre Harris by white supremacists” as Borden and Ramos sat in jail for nearly a year with no opportunity of bail. Eventually they and the others arrested would be found guilty and given harsh sentences...
... multiple years in jail and thousands of dollars in fines.
But Harris, however, was not off the hook entirely himself.
Harold Ray Crews, the man who had been hit with Harris’ flashlight, was actively pursuing an arrest since the incident occurred. Along with Occidental Dissent bloggers Hunter Wallace and Mark Cicero, Crews repeatedly provided the Charlottesville Police Department with videos...
... of the assault and protested for a warrant to be made for Harris’ arrest. When the CPD refused, Crews took the matter directly to a magistrate and signed a sworn affidavit testifying against Harris. The magistrate agreed there was a strong case to be made.
The magistrate formally filed a warrant for Harris’ arrest. Harris turned himself in 3 days later. Though facing similar charges as those who had beaten him, DeAndre was immediately released on bail and not left in a jail cell to await trial.
Throughout all of the legal battles resulting from the Unite the Right rally, Antifa and and other activists repeatedly showed up to city council meetings and courthouses to rally and disrupt which caused many delays.
Many protested the Crews’ actions, saying it was unfair or unusual for a warrant to be approved by going directly to a magistrate.
However, this is not illegal, and Alt-Right talk show host Christopher Cantwell, who was featured by Vice News’ piece on the rally, was arrested under the exact same circumstances. Claims were also made that the magistrate had a connection to Crews, though it was never proven.
As he awaited trial, DeAndre was pulled over speeding. When he rolled down the window, officers smelled a strong marijuana odour, prompting them to get a warrant to search his car. Inside, they found a loaded AR-15 under a coat on his backseat.
He was given a misdemeanour concealed weapon charge and a second misdemeanour charge for transporting a loaded weapon.
Harris’ assault trial was brief. His lawyer argued that Harris was not attempting to beat Harold Ray Crews, but instead to push the flagpole out of Crews and Long’s hands.
He claimed that he didn’t mean to hurt Crews, but to prevent him from assaulting Long, claiming Crews was attempting to charge Long and skewer him with the flagpole.
However, video evidence clearly demonstrates that Crews’ flagpole was grabbed by Corey Long, twisting Crews around towards Long and prompting the tug of war which led to Harris’ flashlight attack. Harris’ lawyer also argued that his swing was too weak to be considered threatening
Finally, there were claims that the injuries sustained by Crews could not be proven to have come from Harris, and while it’s proven that Harris had swung his flashlight at Crews and struck him, the intent of the swing could not be proven.
Harris was found not guilty of assault by Charlottesville Judge Robert Downer.
A month later, following up on his weapons charges, Harris pled guilty. Once again, Judge Robert Downer dismissed the charges and claimed his bond violation was now irrelevant as this trial was happening after he was proven innocent of the assault which led to his arrest.
DeAndre Shakur Harris was once again a free man, and seems to have stayed out of trouble since and has kept a low profile. None of the other members of Harris’ group have been identified and are not under investigation.
Corey Long was given positive news coverage but was eventually charged with disorderly conduct. Despite his role in the chaos throughout the day, he was given 360 days in jail, with all but 10 suspended. He was allowed to serve his 10 days in jail over five weekends.
The paths of Borden, Ramos and Goodwin since the incident however, have not been as easy. After their trials in Charlottesville, Goodwin received a sentence of eight years (with two years suspended), Ramos received a six years sentence (with the possibility of three w/ prob.)
When it comes to the various horrors of #Charlottesville, one doesn’t need to choose sides between the Alt-Right and Antifa. Politics, in this case at least, are irrelevant when it comes to the truth.
Borden, who was also tried in Charlottesville, received a severe sentence of 20 years, suspended to three years and ten months of actual incarceration after a plea deal where Borden did not have to confess guilt. They all currently remain in jail.
An investigation into police activity on August 12th uncovered internal disorder that borderlines on gross criminal negligence.
First, a State review, which revealed that the police weren’t able to communicate effectively, were completely unorganized, and criticized the department for uncertainty amongst the officers about the “Rules of Engagement” with protesters...
... leading to police standing by as violence escalated. This criticism was seconded by Black Lives Matter New York leader Hawk Newsome.
It alleges, amongst other things, that The Charlottesville Police, Virginia State Police and University of Virginia Police failed to keep Antifa separated from the Alt-Right and only intervened after counter-protesters had initiated fights.
Legal firm Hunton & Williams completed the most thorough review to date.
The police were under orders not to intervene unless absolutely necessary. The CPD ignored the advice of other cities including Portland and Pikeville, who contacted the CPD to urge them to keep both sides separated.
The CPD and VSP allowed Antifa to obstruct the entrances to Lee Park. The CPD and VSP had deliberately stood down on August 12th and allowed the violence to escalate out of control.
The CPD failed to block the intersection at Fourth and Market Streets, where the Heather Heyer accident occurred. A school security officer had been assigned to the intersection, but got scared and was allowed to leave her post. #Charlottesville#HeatherHeyer ht
The CPD were inadequately trained, ignored Department of Homeland Security warnings and were described as being afraid of both the protesters and counter-protesters. The CPD and VSP was alleged to have deliberately pushed the Alt-Right into the crowd of Antifa protesters...
Hunton & Williams’ overall conclusion is that Charlottesville failed to protect both public safety and freedom of expression. They alleged that the CPD allowed Antifa to incite violence as an excuse to declare Unite the Right an unlawful assembly.
The report also comments on the DeAndre Harris case. It claims that DeAndre Harris and his friends pursued League of the South members returning to their vehicles in the Market Street Parking Garage. The report claims that Harris initiated the brawl by attacking Harold Crews.
... on Market Street, which was corroborated by photojournalist Zach Roberts. The VSP and CPD has failed to coordinate in their response to the Unite the Right rally. In fact, the Charlottesville Police retreated at the peak of the violence in order to go put on their riot gear.
In hindsight, it’s a shame that Charlottesville became a condemnation of citizens when the institutional corruption and malfeasance of municipal and state law enforcement is most likely to blame.
Simply put, Charlottesville appeared to be a set up to evade a federal court order. Police Chief Al Thomas alleged to have destroyed evidence to cover his tracks. Though the police responded to this with the resignation of Thomas he stays on the payroll earning 135k annually
But for the protesters themselves, ultimately, what President Donald Trump stated in the wake of the rally demonstrated remarkable clarity:
"... I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups. But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue...
"... you had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now… you had a group on the other side that came charging in, without a permit, and they were very, very violent…
“What about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do. As far as I’m concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day… I will tell you something. I watched those very closely…
"... of Robert E. Lee. I’m not putting anybody on a moral plane. What I’m saying is this: You had a group on one side and you had a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs -- and it was vicious and it was horrible. And it was a horrible thing to watch."
"But there is another side. There was a group on this side. You can call them the left… that came violently attacking the other group. …and you had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides… I saw the same pictures...
This remark says it all. Unfortunately, many in the press truly don’t understand how to treat people they don’t like fairly anymore. Even white nationalists (and a Puerto-Rican civic nationalist) deserve a fair shake in a society where it is still lawful to.
"... as you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue…”
One reporter asked “Sir, I just didn’t understand what you were saying. You were saying the press has treated white nationalists unfairly?"
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