On August 12, the world watched as DeAndre Harris, 20, was beaten bloody by a group of White supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia. The young Black man was counter-protesting an action hosted by several factions in opposition to the planned removal of a monument to Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

 

Yesterday (October 9), a magistrate issued an arrest warrant for Harris on the felony charge of unlawful wounding. It’s a variant of the malicious wounding charge that was meted out to two of his attackers, Alex Michael Ramos and Daniel Borden.

Harris’ attorney, S. Lee Merritt, told The Washington Post that the charge is “clearly retaliatory,” and identified the accuser as member of a White supremacist group. “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. Harris suffered a broken wrist, a serious head laceration and a concussion as a result of the attack.

Merritt went on to say that the fact that the charge came from a magistrate is “highly unusual” and that it suggests failed attempts to get the local police to move on the accusation. A Charlottesville Police Department statement issued to television station WVIR provides this account of events:

The victim went to the magistrate’s office, presented the facts of what occurred and attempted to obtain the warrant. 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 (Va Code 18.2-51) was issued.

Unlawful wounding is a Class 6 felony. If found guilty, Harris could face up to five years of incarceration and a fine of up to $2,500. The malicious wounding charge faced by two of his attackers carries a possible penalty of up to 20 years and $100,000. Per his attorney, Harris will turn himself in this week.

Merritt posted the message below on Facebook this afternoon. It identifies Harris’ accuser as Harold Ray Crews and includes a video that he says shows Harris’ brief interaction with Crews:

*Story updated to include Merritt’s Facebook entry.