The identity of a man wearing a white helmet seen in video of the beating of Deandre Harris after the racist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, has been a mystery for nearly 18 months.
Hatewatch and online volunteers used photos from the August 2017 event as well as Discord chat logs leaked by Unicorn Riot to identify the man in the Pro-Tec helmet as 36-year-old Alek Rhyne Hyer of Gainesville, Florida.
Hyer is seen on video as members of the neo-Confederate group League of the South and other white nationalists attack and beat Harris in a Charlottesville parking garage as the racist rally dispersed amid fits of violence. He is also seen in a photo being treated for a head wound after “Unite the Right” in which his face is clearly visible.
Footage shows Harris being knocked to the ground as a man previously known only as “White Helmet” emerges from the back of the melee and swings his flagpole down on Harris’s skull. “White Helmet” then turns to run, tripping on a slab of raised concrete.
Harris, disoriented, tries to run away and is thrown to the ground and savagely beaten by a group of white nationalists. Harris suffered a spinal injury, a broken arm and head lacerations in the attack.
Two men seen in photos and video of the beating remain unidentified.
Three people were sentenced to prison for their attack on Harris. Jacob Scott Goodwin, a 24-year-old neo-Nazi sympathizer from Ward, Arkansas, received an eight-year prison sentence. Alex Michael Ramos, a 34-year-old onetime member of a militia group called the Georgia III% Security Force, received a six-year prison sentence.
Daniel Patrick Borden, 20, was sentenced to nearly four years in prison. All were convicted of malicious wounding.
A fourth man, League of the South member Tyler Watkins Davis from Middleburg, Florida, is scheduled for sentencing Aug. 27.
“White Helmet” was later photographed at the scene of the beating having bandages applied to a head wound by Michael Tubbs, LOS chief of staff.
In the aftermath of the rally, Hyer shared to a since-leaked Discord thread: “i got hit in the head with pipe :\ can’t wait to explain this to my boss at work,” and explaining that his injuries included “stitches and broken cheekbone :\”
In leaks from the online chat forum Discord, Hyer uses the name “WhiteTrash” to discuss “Unite the Right” planning with Jason Kessler, the organizer of the event, as well as chatting about joining the hate group the Proud Boys.
“I should have joined their k---book group just to see the shitstorm brewing from the inside,” Hyer wrote on Discord on June 21, 2017.
Hyer also took part in trying to raise money for Andrew Anglin and his neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer in Discord chats. Several times in July 2017 he lobbied other posters to send money to Anglin to get the site up and running.
“In [sic] donating to anglin … so he can upgrade his armory in Nigeria,” Hyer wrote.
Hyer spent more than two years in a Florida state prison for aggravated assault before being released in November 2010.
Hyer has not been charged in relation to the Harris beating.
Hyer did not immediately respond to an email from Hatewatch seeking comment.
Photo from Florida Department of Corrections