Two men have been sentenced to state prison for maliciously wounding a black man after last year’s white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Several white men were captured on camera beating DeAndre Harris with metal objects, sticks, and poles in a parking garage, footage of which subsequently went viral and caught national attention.
On August 23, Jacob Scott Goodwin, 23, was sentenced to eight years in prison for his role in the beating and Alex Michael Ramos, 34, was sentenced to six, according to NPR. The two men were convicted in separate jury trials earlier this year of playing a significant role in the brutal assault of now 21-year-old Harris.
Goodwin had been sentenced to 10 years total, but two of those years were suspended. He must also have 20 years of good behavior and serve probation, local TV station NBC 29 reported. The man had been reportedly wearing white supremacist symbols, including some associated with neo-Nazi organizations, on the day of the attack, according to the NPR report.
“The beating happened right beside the Police Department, and no police were there to help me at all,” Harris said, as quoted by The Root.
Harris’ claims come at a time of ongoing debate surrounding the perceived passive role of police in protecting the public against the violence of white supremacists. Just earlier this month, the Portland Police Department faced criticism following an August 4 rally during which officials reportedly protected white supremacists and attacked counterprotesters, as reported by The Guardian.
Goodwin initially said he beat Harris in self-defense after seeing him take a swing at another man, the leader of a North Carolina white nationalist group. The North Carolina authorities did indeed press charges against Harris — but he was acquitted of those charges just months before Goodwin’s conviction.
Both Goodwin, of Arkansas, and Ramos, who is from Georgia, apologized during their sentencing hearings.
“I am truly and genuinely sorry for what happened to Mr. Harris,” Goodwin said, according to the NBC 29 report. And Ramos told the judge, “I’m really sorry for everything I’ve done.”
Two other men have also been charged with malicious wounding for their role in the beating on Harris. Daniel Borden pleaded guilty in May and awaits sentencing, while Tyler Davis is expected to face trial later this year, as per NPR.
The Aug. 12, 2017, Unite the Right rally ended in violence and tragedy, as a man drove a car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring many others.
Nearly two weeks ago, organizers of last year’s Unite the Right rally marked its first anniversary with a rally in Washington, D.C. Their small gathering was overwhelmed by hundreds of counterdemonstrators.