Two of the Charlottesville Seven political prisoners, Jacob Goodwin and Alex Ramos, have just been convicted of “malicious wounding” of Deandre Harris after the August 12 2017 Unite the Right rally. My view, having attended both trials: Goodwin and Ramos arguably did use disproportional force once Harris on the ground, although nothing that would have attracted attention in a trailer park brawl. Nevertheless, they did not receive a fair trial, due in large part to repeated false testimony by the alleged victim Deandre Harris. This false testimony was materially significant to how seriously they should be charged and how much time they should serve. Additionally, they were clearly prosecuted more harshly because they were white men (Ramos is actually Puerto Rican) involved in a racially-charged incident. My understanding is that they will appeal.
Goodwin said at trial that he was using reasonable force to keep Harris, who appeared to have a weapon, from getting back up. [White supremacist is guilty in Charlottesville parking garage beating of black man, By Ian Shapira, Washington Post, May 2, 2018]
The judge at Ramos’ trial said “It really is malice to hit someone on the ground”. [Guilty again: Ramos second person convicted in garage assault, by Lisa Provence, C-Ville.com, May 4, 2018]. But remember Heather Mac Donald described multiple punches by Harvard police who had wrestled a “drug-crazed black student” to the ground as “’compliance strikes,’ designed to weaken a resisting suspect’s strength and reduce his drive to fight". [Harvard Against the Police, City Journal, May 2, 2018]
Is it justice for Deandre Harris to be let off the hook when he committed the vicious and racially motivated attack that started the brawl? Is it justice for Deandre to be allowed to lie over and over again on the stand to help convict two men to sentences which carry a 20-year maximum penalty?
Harris’s repeated false statements on the stand have denied these men due process. So has the Charlottesville Commonwealth Attorney’s office, which reduced charges against Harris not for any legal reason, but because their Leftist sensibilities were offended that a black man should be charged with equivalent crimes to whites.
Charlottesville prosecutors made a conscious decision to prosecute the white men more harshly than the black man because they didn’t want to be accused of “white supremacism” by their fanatical Alt-Left constituency. They sacrificed Equal Justice for Public Relations.
This can be deduced by, among other things, how they charge white men with the most serious charges possible but charge Harris’ ally Corey Long for shooting a flamethrower into a crowd of people with merely a misdemeanor, “disorderly conduct”.
This is at the center of the unequal justice and anarcho-tyranny of the Charlottesville judicial system.
The Unite the Right rally started off as a peaceful assembly in Lee Park to support the presence of a Confederate monument. Counter-demonstrators (aka Antifa) threw tear gas canisters and balloons filled with urine, feces and bleach into the park. Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas (right) said, "Let them fight for a little. It will make it easier to declare an unlawful assembly".
Harris False Statement #1 During testimony, Deandre Harris claimed that he was being provoked because these balloons were being thrown from the permitted park area out into the counter-demonstrators. Later, in the Ramos trial, Detective Declan Hickey was asked about the truth of this statement. After a suspiciously long pause he replied: “It appeared they were coming mostly from the counter-demonstrators.”
In fact, overhead drone footage of the event (which I possess) shows that the balloons filled with urine, feces and bleach were ONLY being thrown by Antifa INTO the permitted demonstration. And from the Heaphy Report, [PDF] we know this activity was going on with the tacit approval of the police chief, who had been watching and getting reports.
Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Nina Antony explained (defensively) that Harris was throwing coke cans into the park during the lawfully permitted Unite the Right rally,
but that he was only doing it because they’d been thrown at him first. She presented no evidence to this effect, and once again, video footage tends to contradict that allegation.
As you can see in the picture above, Harris was wearing a surgical mask to obscure his face (See: §18.2-422. Prohibition of wearing of masks). He claims that they were being passed out at the rally by counter-demonstrators and worn to protect against inhalation of pepper spray and other chemicals in the air.
This is relevant for several reasons. First, the prosecutorial double standard. There is no legal exception in the no-mask statute for pepper spray. Also, if masks were so necessary because of pepper spray why where none of the lawful Unite The Right demonstrators wearing them? And isn’t that a convenient excuse to legally justify the notorious Antifa tactic of wearing masks?
But most importantly, you need to understand how important what people were wearing became to this case. Prosecutor Nina Antony repeatedly asserted that Ramos and Goodwin did not come to UTR with lawful purpose because wearing body armor, helmets and googles implied they were “dressed for war” and came to do violence.
Besides the fact that many journalists and counter-demonstrators also wore goggles, helmets, etc. for their safety, it’s important to note that Harris also came “dressed for war”—but a different kind of war. Antifa don’t use the same tactics as the Right. They go for guile and deception over strength. They wear masks to disguise their identities and conceal their weapons.
The prosecutor would have you believe Harris was there for a legitimate protest because he was dressed in a hoodie and basketball shorts. But the reason Antifa dresses lightly is so they can swiftly strike and then fade into a crowd of people.
Harris’ Questionable Statement
Deandre Harris’ story at the Ramos trial about how he got the mag light used to mug Harold Crews is... questionable. He told the court that he came to Unite the Right with only a backpack full of water. When he arrived, two white men, dressed all in black, were walking around with bags full of weapons.
They asked him, “Do you have a weapon?” offering him one for “protection”. Harris reached into the bag and selected a mag light as his instrument of choice.
False Statement #2: Ramos’ attorney Jake Joyce asked Deandre how he held the mag light: gripped at the end or in the middle, etc. Whether Deandre was walking around holding the mag light like a club prior to the incident would show whether he had premeditated intent to use it as a weapon.
He testified under oath that he was holding it “in the middle” (aka not as a weapon). But judge whether he was telling the truth from the picture below.
A mag light like the one employed by Deandre Harris and in a similar grip position
Deandre Harris admitted that he was with a group of armed black men, including Corey Long, as they lit on fire Confederate flags they’d stolen from the demonstrators. When demonstrators were pushed out of the park by police, they were forced straight into a flamethrower attack by Corey Long, who was waiting for them at the foot of the stairs.
The black website The Root gave this astonishingly good press: Interview: How Corey Long Fought White Supremacy With Fire, by Yesha Callahan, TheRoot, August 14, 2017.
Harris, Long, Donald Blakney and a number of other blacks, along with Antifa, followed demonstrators as they withdrew to the parking lot where their cars were, shaking clubs and other weapons at them. Deandre testified under oath that he was shouting at the white men, “Yeeeaaah!”, “Let’s f--king go, nigga!” and “We got that flag!”
(False Statement #3: Deandre only admitted to these taunts during the Goodwin trial but said, “That wasn’t me” during the Ramos trial a couple of days later.)
Right after Deandre shouted, “We got that flag”, Corey Long grabbed a Confederate flag from a middle-aged League of the South member, Harold Crews, and pulled him in. Then Harris smashed him across the left side of his face with the mag light. Crews’ head jolted from the blow and he stumbled back.
False Statement #4: Deandre was asked if he hit Harold Crews in the face with the mag light. During the course of these trials he’s repeatedly lied: “No, I hit his flag pole.” But look at the trajectory of Crews’ face after he receives the blow and how he stumbles back. Conversely, the trajectory of Crews’ hands and flag pole do not show signs of impact.
Additionally, police officer Brian Arndt testified during the Ramos trial that he witnessed the incident begin when “A Caucasian man was struck and stumbled back.”
Central to the defense in Harris’ criminal trial: the assertion that Crews’ injuries were actually the result of a second attack moments later by a white Antifa. You can see this attack at the 10:00 minute mark in the video above. However, note the injury to Crews’ face and how it corresponds to the blow by Harris.
Additionally, note how the blow by the white Antifa is to the BACK of the head. And most importantly the bruises on Crews’ face are visible before the second attack!
This is the lie most material to the case and which denied Goodwin and Ramos the possibility of a fair trial. Harris lied about a material fact that could have made the difference between a jury convicting of Unlawful Wounding vs Malicious Wounding—the difference between a sentence of Time Served (both Goodwin and Ramos have been held without bail since August) vs 20 years in prison.
Further, Harris had no personal motive to tell these lies—since he’d already been found Not Guilty of assault and can’t be subjected to Double Jeopardy. He lied to deny Goodwin and Ramos any semblance of a fair trial.
False Statement #5: Harris claimed in both trials that he turned around and was surprised to see Harold Crews and Corey Long struggling over the flag. He swung his mag light to break up the fight. However, given that Harris admitted to shouting, “We got that flag!” and participating in earlier flag burnings, he was aware that Long and others were stealing flags for the purpose of burning them. This was another knowingly false statement.
False Statement #6: Harris repeatedly stated under oath that he was “ambushed”. Dictionary.com defines an ambush as, “an act or instance of lying concealed so as to attack by surprise.” As you can tell from the facts it was exactly the opposite. It was Deandre and his friends who pursued and ambushed Harold Crews.
When asked on the stand by defense attorney Joyce whether Harris still contends he was ambushed, he answered, “Yes.” But he claims it was after he swung the mag light. That’s not an ambush. That’s defense of others.
At that point, video shows that several black and white men rushed into the fray. There was violence all around as part of a larger melee, not just a one-side beat down as prosecutors claim. A white man in a helmet was tackled by a black man in a teal shirt. Black and white men were brawling all around. It was in this context that Harris was kicked, punched and clobbered with sticks which left him with a broken wrist and a gash on his head.
While violence was certainly inflicted on Harris, it should have been viewed in context. He was a very serious threat. He was with a gang of black men, all armed with weapons, shaking them at white people and shouting racial abuse. Harris’ ally had been shooting a flamethrower into a crowd of whites. Harris obviously did not object to that behavior and leave. On the contrary, he followed and participated with him in further acts of violence.
Note also that the severe injuries which the “wounding” charge requires weren’t necessarily caused by either Goodwin or Ramos. Goodwin kicked Deandre Harris, arguably in self-defense, four times. Ramos punched him a single time. However, due to a “concert of action” statue which makes every member of an illegal act liable for the activities of the group, they were placed on the hook for a much more serious crime.
Ramos and Goodwin could have been convicted of one of three charges in order of severity:
The defense attorneys tried to strike the Malicious charge by arguing that the men had no ill will towards Deandre but were reacting to a violent situation. However, Judge Richard Moore ruled that malice was inferred by kicking or punching a man who was on the ground.
Goodwin’s defense attorney tried to strike the Wounding charge based on the fact that a nurse who had examined Deandre after the incident found no evidence of injury where Goodwin’s kicks had connected. Ramos’ attorney made a similar “lack of injury” argument about the single punch he threw.
But Judge Moore ruled that the “Concert of Action” clause was in effect and each man could be found guilty of the most serious crimes done by other men in the group.
Clearly without Concert of Action both Goodwin and Ramos would only have been charged with misdemeanor assault.
As I’ve said repeatedly, I do believe the white men committed crimes during the parking garage incident, but they are being prosecuted savagely while the black men are under-prosecuted. Despite volumes of evidence regarding violence by counter-protestors at Unite the Right, not a single one of them has been punished for their role in what ensued. WHY?!
How can Assistant Prosecutor Nina Antony endorse testimony by Deandre Harris that every impartial observer knows is false? Are we really supposed to believe that she doesn’t know these are false statements?
Why are even liberal observers I’ve talked to saying that Commonwealth Attorney Joe Platania threw the assault case against Deandre Harris?
Judge Robert H. Downer, the Charlottesville District Judge who found Deandre Harris not guilty, has since been presented with additional evidence concerning the attack on Harold Crews by Deandre Harris. His response: “Why wasn’t I shown this at trial?!”
My view: this pattern of official malfeasance merits a corruption probe and possible lawsuits involving the Charlottesville Commonwealth Attorney’s Office. Additionally, the convictions of Goodwin and Ramos should be thrown out because of the repeated, and materially significant, false statements by Deandre Harris.
Breaking news: KKK leader found guilty of firing gun during Charlottesville rally, by Morgan Gstalter, The Hill, May 8, 2017. Richard Preston, who fired a shot into the ground to deter Corey Long’s flame thrower attack, has elected to plead no contest, presumably the hope of a reduced sentence. I will blog on this tomorrow.
Jason Kessler is a freelance journalist and activist who has written for VDARE.com, Daily Caller and GotNews as well as his own site JasonKessler.us. He’s also the president and founder of the America First non-profit Unity and Security for America.