Arkansan guilty in attack on black man at white-nationalist rally

Jacob Goodwin
Jacob Goodwin

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- A white Arkansas man charged in the beating of a black man during a white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., has been found guilty of malicious wounding.

Jacob Scott Goodwin, 23, was found guilty Tuesday night for the August attack on 20-year-old DeAndre Harris during last year's "Unite the Right" rally.

The jury recommended a sentence of 10 years, with the option of suspending some time and a $20,000 fine.

Harris suffered a spinal injury, a broken arm and head lacerations that required eight staples after the parking garage assault. Three others were arrested.

Goodwin's attorney, Elmer Woodard, argued Harris, then working as a YMCA camp counselor, went to pick a fight and that his client was just trying to defend himself.

"[Goodwin] came to exercise free speech. Mr. Harris went to abuse free speech -- not to exercise it, but abuse it," Woodward said in his opening statement.

However, Nina-Alice Antony, assistant commonwealth attorney, said it was Goodwin who wanted to square off.

"He was outfitted for battle," she told the jury in opening statements. "He's got large goggles, boots. He's got a full body shield."

Goodwin also reportedly wore two pins, one bearing the number 88, a code for "Heil Hitler," and a second with the logo for the Traditionalist Worker Party, a white-nationalist group.

The rally was held to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a city park.

The attack inside the Market Street parking garage, next to the Charlottesville Police Department, was one of several acts of violence during the rally. A self-professed neo-Nazi rammed his Dodge Charger into a crowd that day, killing 32-year-old counterprotester Heather Heyer, a paralegal.

Footage of the August beating has been viewed online tens of thousands of times and attracted a group of online sleuths, led by Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King. They tracked down many alleged perpetrators' identities, including that of Goodwin.

Goodwin was arrested in October at a residence outside Austin in rural Lonoke County.

An NBC News documentary titled Path to Radicalization, released last month, featured Goodwin and his family. In it, Goodwin speaks by jail phone wearing a jumpsuit and calls himself an advocate for "white civil rights" through his affiliation with the Arkansas ShieldWall Network.

"I went to Charlottesville to protest politicians trying to buy into that fad that we're progressive and we want to remove this racist history," Goodwin said, adding he wished to "kindle the flame of our ancestors and rise above."

Goodwin's parents spoke to him from behind glass as an NBC News crew filmed their interaction.

From the kitchen table of their home, both defended their son and said they don't necessarily agree with all of his viewpoints.

Goodwin's mother, Tamera, told an NBC filmmaker that her son is "just a political prisoner, and I couldn't be more proud."

Information for this article was contributed by Ian Shapria of The Washington Post; by staff members of The Associated Press; and by Brandon Riddle of Arkansas Online.


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Metro on 05/03/2018