A black man beaten in Charlottesville is facing felony charges

In a "clearly retaliatory" move, the man who went to cops was accused of being a white supremacist

By Matthew Rozsa

Published October 10, 2017 9:58AM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

DeAndre Harris, an African-American man brutally beaten by six right-wingers during the Charlottesville protests, has now had a warrant issued for his arrest.

The warrant was issued on Monday by a local magistrate for a felony charge, according to The Washington Post. Harris is being charged with unlawful wounding by an accuser who local police declined to identify.

"The victim went to the Magistrate’s office, presented the facts of what occurred and attempted to obtain the warrant," explained the Charlottesville Police Department in a statement. "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."

Harris' attorney, S. Lee Merritt, told the Post that the wounding charge — the same one facing two of the right-wing protesters, Alex Michael Ramos and Daniel Borden, who attacked Merritt — was "clearly retaliatory" and claimed the accuser was a member of a white supremacist group who might have made previous unsuccessful attempts to accuse Harris of violence.

"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," said Merritt.

One of Harris' attackers, Ramos, has previously accused Harris of initiating that fight. His attorney said in a September court hearing that "it may have been Mr. Harris who struck the first blow in that fracas," while Ramos himself has denied being a white supremacist, instead claiming he was merely there as a "conservative."

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Charlottesville Racism White Supremacism