A year ago today this video jumped out at me as I scrolled through social media. I was sick. It depicts #DeAndreHarris being surrounded and pummeled by bigots wielding metal pipes, 4x4 and other improvised weapons. I later discovered another video showing the crowd of men after they attacked DeAndre celebrating the assault while walking past uniformed and unflinching police officers. “We stomped that nigger!” “It was glorious!” Shortly afterwards I got a call from DeAndre’s mom Felica and took the next flight out.
The assault on DeAndre was infuriating. The institutional endorsement of his attack was even more bewildering. No arrest were made. None. Over the next few days these men got on planes and traveled back to wherever the hell they came from. Defenses were made for them, in their absence, on social media, by Charlottesville prosecutors and as high up as the presidency. DeAndre, a twenty-year-old assistant school teacher, was to blame. He was antifa (till this day DeAndre couldn’t tell you what antifa is). He was a thug (DeAndre had no criminal record period— he later accepted a plea on gun related charges after he was caught carry weapons in response to constant threats ob his life). He was himself charged with assaulting a white supremacist— the only independent arrest made by #Charlottesville PD relating to the attack. Though he was later found not guilty of any form of assault at trial. His assailants had to be painstakingly hunted down by a team of internet sleuths led by @shaunking . At least two still remain at large.
Watch this clip. Let the images sink in. Your children will watch them one day and ask where were you? This is the America we live in today and it is in a state of emergency as dire and treacherous as the height of Jim Crow and the Nadir period. We must constantly resist.