You’ve probably seen the DeAndre Harris story in the media over the last few months. It pertains to the infamous neo-Nazi “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
In now infamous video footage, 20-year-old DeAndre Harris was brutally beaten in a bloody confrontation in a parking garage in Charlottesville as part of the various street battles waged in the city during the divisive day of protest and counter-rallying.
Footage released by the media showed what it called a gang of “white men” chasing Harris. Harris collapses and is beaten violently with poles and various instruments. 20-year-old Harris was reportedly left with a broken wrist and needed eight staples for his head wounds.
He set up a Gofundme page to raise money for what he claimed were medical costs, adding a harrowing account of what he claimed had happened:
“I was chased and beat with metal poles. I was knocked unconscious repeatedly. Every time I went to stand up I was knocked back down. If it was not for my friends that I came with I would have been beaten to a pulp,” he wrote. He managed to raise over $166,000.
Given the media coverage of the event, the rage and disbelief ensued when Harris was arrested on October 12 for malicious wounding was huge. But it wasn’t to be unexpected. The media narrative was downright false – namely, that DeAndre Shakur Harris was simply a peaceful counter-protester caught up in a completely random racist assault.
Only a small snippet of the fight and beating was shown on various media outlets, all of which showed the final sequence of events (the beating only) to make it look as if this was a random act of racial violence. TYT’s Cenk claimed Harris was merely “going to a garage” when white supremacists and randomly attacked him.
DeAndre himself claimed the protesters “ambushed” him in the parking garage and that he was just there to “voice (my) opinion”.
But the footage from the fight that has not been shown (or has been hidden online) shows Harris and his associates voicing their opinions in other ways. Their opinions included picking violent fights with protesters in which Harris carries a heavy metal torch as a club (and a friend carries a baseball bat). At least one – Corey Long – was swaggering around shirtless as he picked fights with the demonstrators.
In one scene, Long had apparently tried to grab a Confederate flag from a marcher, an act that quickly degenerated into a fight. Harris and friends seem to have quickly joined in, fighting the marcher and trying to take his flag. In video footage, Harris seems to very quickly (and without being provoked) lean back and strike the man in the head with the solid metal torch with full force – an attack which could have been fatal.
The white supremacists then attack Harris and beat him. In other words, Harris involved himself in the brawl between far-leftists and far-rightists and then claimed he was a peaceful demonstrator. The protester attacked by Harris, Harold Ray Crews, filed the complaint. Harris was not “repeatedly knocked unconscious”. He was beaten, fell, got up and hurried away. He was never motionless. In addition, one of the “white men”, Alex Michael Ramos, is a Puerto Rican opportunist with links to the alt-lite.
Misuse of Funds?
Over $166,000 is a lot to spend on stitches, isn’t it? It turns out that after he paid for the allegedly astronomical costs of a few staples, DeAndre had a lot of cash left – which he then used to buy a Mercades and produce a rap video. The lyrics are let more interesting; DeAndre raps about shooting dead fellow black people.
You’ll never catch me laggin’, cause I’m ridin’ with the chrome (a reference to a firearm), if a n*gga talkin’ reckless then I’m aimin’ at his dome…
The rest includes the usual nonsense about girls and dollar bills accompanied by autotune.
I’m sure the hundreds of well-meaning people who donated money to Harris wanted him to use it on cars and “gangsta” rap.
Other footage from the day seems to show DeAndre and friends burning a flag they stole from a Unite the Right demonstrator. Corey Long appears in the same video yet again – he’s the same man who had earlier used a home-made flamethrower to try and burn rally attendees, which reportedly caused several injuries (a sympathetic article tried to frame Long in heroic terms).
Frustration with the actions of Harris and friends has been expressed across social media, but such anger is nothing new – despairing African-Americans that wish to rid their communities of the victim mentality, broken families, rap culture and crime are sick of being thrown into disrepute due to a criminal element masking hooliganism in the language of peaceful protest (Taleeb Starkes has written at length on this).
As well as the main issues facing the African-American community, African-Americans are regularly shot by police and vilified by bigots. Harris’s actions not only cast his community in a bad light, but encourage the problems tearing it apart, from materialism to “gansta” culture. As he himself said, he’d normally pull the chrome on a “n*gga”.
After the incriminating evidence came out, the latest narrative in articles covering Harris have framed his actions as”deploying self-defence”.
Update: Since this publication a judge in Charlottesville has put Harris under stricter supervision until trial. The assault charge was amended to a felony count of unlawful wounding, then downgraded to a misdemeanor. However on January 10, Harris was charged once again – for speeding, transporting a loaded rifle, and possessing a concealed weapon.