White supremacist found guilty in attack on black man at Charlottesville
A white supremacist was found guilty of beating a black man during last year’s violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that 23-year-old Jacob Scott Goodwin was convicted by a jury of malicious wounding.
Goodwin was wearing a military tactical helmet and holding a large shield during the attack on DeAndre Harris inside a parking garage on Aug. 12, 2017.
The jury recommended a 10-year sentence and a $20,000 fine with the option of suspending some time. Judge Richard E. Moore will make a decision on sentencing in August.
Harris, 20, suffered a spinal injury, broken arm and head laceration that required eight staples, The Post reported.
Goodwin’s attorney, Elmer Woodard, argued that Goodwin was just trying to defend himself.
“[Goodwin] came to exercise free speech. Mr. Harris went to abuse free speech — not to exercise it, but abuse it,” Woodward said in his opening statement.
Goodwin said on the stand that he felt like Harris was hostile so he needed to kick him several times while Harris was falling on the garage floor to “neutralize a threat.”
However, the assistant commonwealth attorney said it was Harris who had to defend himself against Goodwin and other white supremacists.
“He was outfitted for battle,” Nina-Alice Antony told the jury. “He’s got large goggles, boots. He’s got a full body shield.”
Harris was acquitted last month on charges of misdemeanor assault and battery against Harold Crews, the North Carolina state chairman of the white nationalist group League of the South.
Harris said he saw his friend about to be speared in the abdomen with a flagpole held by Crews. He swung a flashlight at the flagpole to knock it away before rushing into the parking garage where he was subsequently attacked.
Neither the prosecutors nor the defense attorneys brought up Goodwin’s possible affiliation with white supremacy groups during the trial’s testimony.
At the rally, Goodwin was wearing two pins, one bearing the number 88, code for “Heil Hitler.” The other was the logo of the Traditionalist Worker Party, a white nationalist group, the Post reported.
However, Woodard told the jury during closing arguments that “They want you to convict this man because he’s white, and DeAndre is a black man.”
Video of the beating went viral. Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King led a group of online sleuths to identify the perpetrators.
Three other men have been arrested in connection to the attack: Alex Michael Ramos of Georgia, Daniel Borden of Ohio and Tyler Watkins Davis of Florida.
Their charges range from felonious assault to malicious wounding, the Post reported.
The parking garage incident was just one of a number of violent outbursts during the event protesting the removal of a Confederate statue from a city park.
One white supremacist drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one and injuring a number of others.
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