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2 Men Sentenced To Prison For Beating Black Man During Charlottesville Rally

DeAndre Harris, crumpled on the ground, is beaten by several men in a parking garage beside the police station in Charlottesville, Va., shortly after a white nationalist rally in August 2017.
Zach D. Roberts

The two men convicted of maliciously wounding a black man after last year's white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., have been sentenced to prison time. Jacob Scott Goodwin has been sentenced to serve eight years in prison for his role in the beating, while Alex Michael Ramos has been sentenced to six.

Goodwin, 23, and Ramos, 34, had been convicted in separate jury trials earlier this year of playing a significant role in the savage assault of DeAndre Harris. In images of the incident, which circulated widely on social media afterward, several men can be seen kicking Harris and hitting him with poles as he lay crumpled on the ground.

Goodwin, who was sentenced to 10 years total, though two of those years were suspended, had been seen on the day of the rally day wearing white supremacist symbols, including some associated with neo-Nazi organizations.

In court, he initially said he was acting in self-defense after seeing Harris take a swing at another man, the leader of a North Carolina white nationalist group. That North Carolina man had indeed pressed charges against Harris — but Harris was acquitted of those charges just months before Goodwin's conviction.

Both Goodwin, who is from Arkansas, and Ramos, who is from Georgia, apologized during their sentencing hearings, according to local TV station NBC 29.

Two other men were charged with malicious wounding for their role in the attack on Harris. Daniel Borden pleaded guilty in May and awaits sentencing, while Tyler Davis is expected to face trial later this year.

The prison sentences for Goodwin and Ramos come just over a year after white nationalists from across the country descended on the small Virginia city for the Unite the Right rally. It ended in violence: On Aug. 12, 2017, a woman named Heather Heyer died and many other people were injured when a man drove a car into a crowd of counterprotesters.

Another man, Richard Preston, was sentenced this week to four years in prison for a separate incident during the rally. Reportedly an imperial wizard in the Ku Klux Klan, Preston was convicted of firing a gun in the direction of a black counterprotester who was holding an improvised blowtorch, and who later was found guilty of disorderly misconduct.

The confrontation, like the parking garage beating, was also caught on film.

Nearly two weeks ago, organizers of last year's Unite the Right rally marked its first anniversary with a rally in Washington, D.C. Their small gathering was overwhelmed by hundreds of counterdemonstrators.

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Colin Dwyer covers breaking news for NPR. He reports on a wide array of subjects — from politics in Latin America and the Middle East, to the latest developments in sports and scientific research.
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