Twenty-year-old Deandre Harris of Charlottesville, Virginia, thought he was going to peacefully protest and “voice [his] opinion on racial tension” when he showed up for the “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally. Instead, he was chased by a gang of White protesters and beaten with metal poles, The Independent reports.
Harris says law enforcement stood by, refusing to intervene in the attack. Harris suffered a broken wrist, a concussion, and a gash in his head that needed eight stitches to close. Harris has exceeded his fundraising goal to cover medical expenses, and his GoFundMe account features a gory photo of his head wound and a video of his beating.
Harris is critical of the city’s decision to allow the rally. He told The Root, “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?” The rally quickly became violent, law enforcement responded questionably, and three people (two by helicopter crash and one by domestic terrorism) were killed by day’s end.
Harris is an instructional assistant for students with special needs at a local high school. He said he is “blessed to be alive.”