On March 16, 2018, Deandre Harris was found “not guilty” of misdemeanor assault against Harold Crews.
Mr. Crews, the North Carolina chairman for the neo-Confederate group “League of the South,” alleged that Mr. Harris assaulted him on August 12, 2017, by hitting him with a flashlight on the side of his face. Mr. Crews originally filed for a felony charge of malicious wounding, but the Commonwealth amended the charge to misdemeanor assault.
Rhonda Quagliana represented Mr. Harris pro bono and presented a “defense of others.” Mr. Harris was walking east on Market Street and when he saw the crowd around him stop walking, he turned and looked behind him where he saw Mr. Crews driving his flagpole into the torso of Mr. Harris’ friend. Mr. Harris reacted by swinging his flashlight and trying to knock the flagpole from Mr. Crews’ hands. Ms. Quagliana showed video with the audio of the flashlight hitting the pole. She also showed video and photographs of other flagpoles brought to Emancipation Park that day with spear-like tips on the ends of the poles, such as Mr. Harris would have witnessed throughout the day.
Mr. Harris had not come to Emancipation Park that day looking for trouble. He brought with him his backpack, some water bottles, and his 16-year-old brother. Someone along the way handed Mr. Harris the flashlight and told him he might need it “for his protection.”
After hearing testimony from Mr. Crews and Mr. Harris, Judge Robert H. Downer, Jr. ruled that Mr. Harris did not intend to harm Mr. Crews and was “not guilty.” The packed courtroom erupted in cheers.
Articles regarding the case have been featured in CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Daily Progress, and other international media. An article was featured in the University of Virginia’s School of Law.
At the offices of St. John, Bowling, Lawrence & Quagliana, LLP, our experienced Virginia criminal defense lawyers are passionate about what they do. To learn more about our legal services and steps to take if you have been charged with a crime, contact us today, or call us at 434-296-7138.