A white supremacist, who wore pins celebrating Adolf Hitler and the neo-Nazi Traditionalist Worker Party during last summer’s violence in Charlottesville, was found guilty late Tuesday of assaulting a black man.
Jacob Scott Goodwin, 23, of Ward, Arkansas, was convicted by a jury in Charlottesville of “malicious wounding,” a felony related to the August 12 attack that severely injured DeAndre Harris.
Goodwin wore a military helmet and carried a large shield during the attack on Harris, captured on video in a parking garage next to the Charlottesville Police Department. Three other white supremacists also involved in the attack face separate trials.
After authorities attempted to sort out what happened, Harris was charged with misdemeanor assault and battery against one of the white supremacists, but he was acquitted of those charges in March.
The 20-year-old victim, a special education instructional assistant, suffered a spinal injury, a broken arm and head lacerations in the assault that came during the now-notorious “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.
The rally — one of the largest gatherings of racists and neo-Nazis in years — was held to oppose removal of a statue of Civil War General Robert E. Lee.
But the racist gathering — the day after a fiery-torch, Ku Klux Klan-style march through the University of Virginia campus — turned deadly when another racist demonstrator drove his car into a crowd of counter-demonstrators, killing 32-year-old Heather Hayer.
The jury was faced with the question whether Goodwin came to the rally prepared for violence or to merely exercise his constitutional rights, as his defense attorney argued.
He wore two pins, one the “88” racist number code for “Heil Hitler” and a second depicting the logo the Traditionalist Worker Party, a now-defunct white nationalist gang.
“He was outfitted for battle,” assistant commonwealth attorney Nina-Alice Antony told the jury in describing Goodwin’s gear. “He’s got large goggles, boots. He’s got a full body shield,” the Washington Post reports.
Goodwin took the stand in his own defense and attempted to convince the jury that he acted in self-defense after he saw Harris charging toward him.
“I thought he was a hostile … I was terrified,” Goodwin said, according to the newspaper’s account.
Goodwin testified that he believed he had only one choice and that was to kick Harris four times as Harris was being pummeled to the garage floor.
Neither the prosecutors nor the defense asked Goodwin about his possible affiliation with any white supremacist groups, the Post reported. But during his closing arguments, defense attorney Elmer Woodard raised the issue, “They want you to convict this man because he’s white, and DeAndre is a black man.”
The prosecutor objected, telling the judge she deliberately avoided raising racial issues during trial.
The three others charged in connection with the assault are Alex Michael Ramos of Georgia; Daniel Borden of Ohio and Tyler Watkins Davis of Florida.
Some of those involved in the beating of DeAndre Harris still have not been arrested. Help us identify additional people who appear to have perpetrated acts of violence on August 12, 2017.