Charlottesville prosecutors secure victory against fourth charged in ‘Unite the Right’ beating

February 9, 2019 GMT

Tyler Watkins Davis on Friday became the fourth person found guilty in connection with violently beating a black man following the deadly 2017 “Unite the Right” rally attended by white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia.

A resident of Middleburg, Florida, Davis faces up to 20 years behind bars after entering a plea in Charlottesville City Court acknowledging his involvement in the assault that hospitalized DeAndre Harris, a former special education instructional assistant beaten in a downtown parking garage in the infamous rally’s aftermath.

Davis, 50, was charged in April 2018 with malicious wounding after being identified as one of six men caught on camera assaulting Mr. Harris. He initially pleaded not guilty prior to charging court Friday and entering an Alford plea, effectively conceded that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict him without admitting guilt.

Video footage of the incident showed an individual identified as Davis striking Harris once in the head with a tire thumper, a club-like device used to check air pressure, according to Charlottesville assistant commonwealth’s attorney, The Daily Progress reported.

Mr. Harris suffered a deep head laceration, a spinal injury and a broken wrist as a result of the assault.

Matthew L. Engle, an attorney for Davis, said he would have argued at trial that his client had acted in “imperfect self-defense,” the newspaper reported.

All three other men charged in the beating Daniel Patrick Borden of Ohio, Jacob Scott Goodwin of Arkansas and Alex Michael Ramos of Florida have previously been convicted of malicious wounding. Borden pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nearly four years in prison, while Goodwin and Ramos were convicted by juries and sentenced to eight and six years behind bars, respectively.

“Unite the Right” was organized by Jason Kessler, a local white nationalist activist, who received permission from the city to hold a “free speech rally” in support of a monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee slated for removal.

Thousands of people ultimately participated or protested the event, and the rally ended early when violent clashes between both sides caused the governor of Virginia to declare a state of emergency.

Davis was admittedly a member of the League of the South, a neo-Confederate group that participated in the rally, but has since renounced white nationalism, his attorney told The Washington Post.

James Alex Fields, an avowed neo-Nazi and “Unite the Right” participant, was convicted last year of murder for driving a car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one person, Heather Heyer, and injuring more than a dozen others.

Prosecutors have secured convictions against a total of at least seven people involved in the rally, The Post reported.