The first of three men that were shown in photos and video captured by NationofChange to have assaulted DeAndre Harris during the ‘Unite The Right’ rally in Charlottesville last year has been found guilty.
The jury recommended 10 years in prison, a $20,000 fine and empathy training.
Jacob Goodwin, like many of the white supremacists who attended the ‘Unite The Right’ rally on August 12th 2017 came prepared for battle, wearing a helmet and carrying a large, clear, police-style riot shield. DeAndre Harris on the other hand neither wore nor carried any such protection for his body. This would be a mistake.
Not too many of us covering the August 12th convergence of white supremacists thought that there was going to be much violence. Personally, I didn’t even wear a helmet or my vest (this would be a mistake). Gas masks were technically illegal in the state of Virginia so I didn’t even carry mine. The idea that there was not going to be any violence at the Unite the Right rally was deeply wrong – as Unicorn Riot discovered with leaked Discord chat logs. You can read the logs here, at Unicorn Riot.
The anonymous source who contacted us the day before the rally provided us with logs from several Discord servers connected to Unite The Right. Chat topics in the logs range from mundane topics such as food, water and restrooms to bloodthirsty calls for genocide and preparations for violence against antifascist counter-protesters.
White Supremacist groups were planning to commit violence from square one. This was their opportunity to chalk up some hits against their sworn enemy, ‘Antifa.’ (Note, antifa is not a group. It’s just a general term over used by the media to describe anti-fascists who don’t simply subscribe to the march and sing model of protest activism) Counter-protesters, which ranged from members of clergy to more confrontational activists, were in no way prepared for the complete lack of police protection.
Goodwin used the shield to knock Harris to the ground, which is when he and his fellow ‘Unite The Right’ marchers proceeded to kick and punch Harris and beat him with clubs.
He then continued kicking Harris and using his shield to keep him from fleeing. Goodwin attempted a ‘self-defense’ plea in the Virginia Court. Lauren Berg of The Daily Progress reported “The defense’s only witness was Goodwin himself, who said he was “terrified” and thought he would “perish” if he did not use self-defense.”
Goodwin went on to claim that if Harris had just stayed on the ground in the fetal position, he would have been safe. The photos and video show clearly that all of this was not true, and thankfully a jury saw through his lies.
Harris was an assistant special ed teacher until the attack left him with PTSD and numerous physical injuries that required months of recovery. If the assault that required him to leave his work wasn’t enough, he then received death threats that forced him to leave his home. Charlottesville activists, like Emily Gorcenski receive continual threats to their lives from the white supremacist groups that descended on their town that weekend.
Next up on the trial docket is Alex Ramos, who can be seen in photos from the day wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat. There are currently three people (including Ramos) awaiting trial for the August 12th beating of Harris, at least two more are still unknown and on the run.
alex ramos, the second of four men charged in the august 12 assault of deandre harris, goes on trial in charlottesville today. he’s charged with felony malicious wounding.
the first trial ended yesterday with a jury recommending ten years for jacob goodwin. pic.twitter.com/tzlGtSl5rT
— molly 🌹 (@socialistdogmom) May 2, 2018
Many of the same people who are in the photos I posted here, were also defiantly at the white supremacist rallies in Tennessee last year, which you can see from our continued on the ground coverage.
Like in Charlottesville, the police in Tennessee not only stood by as violence was committed against counter-protesters, but actually defended the white supremacists who were allowed to have shields and other forms of protection.
As I have written about here in NationofChange many times, the federal and local police were extremely disinterested in prosecuting any of the men that committed violence that weekend. In so much as they actually prosecuted DeAndre Harris before we even saw trials for the men that attacked him.
The prosecutions that are happening this week would not be occurring at all if it wasn’t for the online activism work of Shaun King, the on-the-ground work of people like Emily Gorcenski and many others from CVille.
I would be at the trials myself, but I’m off to the National Rifle Association meeting in Dallas this weekend, something I wouldn’t be able to cover without the continued support of NationofChange’s readers. Please subscribe to our newsletter to received coverage from inside America’s biggest gun show and the protests that are happening outside – and if you can, please donate. NationofChange is the only progressive news outlet that sends photojournalists to cover events like this – please help keep it alive.