One of the victims of the race riot that occurred on Saturday during a “Unite the Right” rally in Virginia is speaking out to tell the story of how he was badly beaten.
Deandre Harris, 20, said that he was with friends counter protesting the “Unite the Right” rally when a group of white supremacists rushed him. One of them began to beat him with a pole, an act that was captured on camera by photographer Zach D. Roberts as Harris knelt on the ground.
“Me and about five of my friends were out protesting. We thought (the racists) left, but at one point they came back,” Harris said in an interview with The Root.
He insisted that his group of friends did nothing to escalate the situation into physical violence. “Everyone was exchanging words with the group, but then the KKK and white supremacists just rushed us,” he said, adding that “no police were there to help me at all,” despite the fact that the event took place right outside the Charlottesville Police Department.
— Zach D Roberts (@zdroberts) August 12, 2017
He added that he was surprised the event was not shut down sooner.
“I think for them to be allowed to come here and protest is really crazy. How do you expect the KKK to come to your city to protest, and them not be violent?” he asked. “I understand everyone is entitled to their freedom of speech, but the government and the mayor made a bad business move. It’s only caused havoc in your own city. It’s crazier that people have the hatred in their heart to want to kill black people.”
After the attack, Harris had eight stitches in his head, a broken wrist, lacerations and a chipped tooth. A GoFundMe page has since been created to help pay for medical costs. On the page, he described how he was “knocked unconscious repeatedly” and that he “was knocked back down” each time he tried to get up again.
“If it was not for my friends that I came with I would have been beaten to a pulp… Once I was dragged off to some near by steps I was taken to the designated area for injured protesters & counter-protesters,” he wrote.
He also wrote that he was not going to be silent: “We will not let this fade & disappear. People are carrying real hate in their hearts for the Black Community and I refuse to just let it happen. God Bless & thank you all again!”