Man acquitted in Charlottesville incident

Published 10:22 pm Friday, March 16, 2018

A Suffolk man was found not guilty of misdemeanor assault Friday in a Charlottesville courtroom.

DeAndre Shakur Harris, 20, was attacked in a parking garage on Aug. 12 in the aftermath of a white-supremacist rally at which he was a counterprotester. The Lakeland High School graduate came away from the attack with a concussion, broken arm and eight staples in his head, he wrote on a GoFundMe page after the attack.

After four other men were charged in relation to the attack on Harris, another man took out a warrant against Harris, claiming Harris had assaulted him.

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The complainant was Harold Ray Crews, whom Harris’ attorney, S. Lee Merritt, identified as chairman of the North Carolina chapter of the League of the South, a neo-Confederate, white-supremacist group classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In a press release posted on his Twitter account after Harris was arrested in October, Merritt said Harris did not injure Crews.

“Harris and Crews had a brief encounter when Harris observed Crews appearing to spear an associate with the sharpened end of a confederate flag pole,” Merritt wrote. “Mr. Harris swung a flashlight in the space between the flag pole and Mr. Crews, failing to make significant contact before the brief scuffle ended.”

Merritt said Harris retreated from the encounter and was followed, and that was when the attack on him occurred. In the meantime, Crews was injured in a separate scuffle that did not involve Harris.

The men charged in the attack on Harris have court dates in April and May.