National News

'I was losing so much blood': Counter-protester beaten with poles, signs in Charlottesville

Posted August 13

— Flowers and candles on Sunday marked the spot where a woman was killed after a car plowed into a group of protesters in Charlottesville, Va., injuring 19 people.

One day after violence in Charlottesville, both sides wanted their voices to be heard, but one side was louder than the other.

Jason Kessler, who organized the Saturday rally that turned violent, attempted to share his side of the story Sunday afternoon. His story was never heard by the crowd because his comments were drowned out by chants from the opposition.

“I would like to condemn any of the violence that happened yesterday. I disavow anything that led to folks getting hurt,” Kessler said.

Kessler’s speech was cut short when he was swarmed by protesters in a scene that stood in stark contrast to a morning service at the First Baptist Church, where a uniting message from Gov. Terry McAuliffe brought the crowd to their feet.

McAuliffe paused to recognize Heather Heyer, who was killed when a car plowed into a crowd of people who were protesting the white nationalists, as well as two state troopers who were killed in a helicopter crash on the way to the scene.

One of those troopers was McAuliffe’s personal pilot for more than three years.

“We are stronger than these people. You have made us stronger. You think you hurt us? You made us stronger,” he said.

Police said a total of 35 people were injured Saturday, including Deandre Harris.

"I got hit in the head and I had to get eight staples in my head to seal it back up. I broke my wrist right here. I busted my lip. I chipped my tooth," Harris said. "I'm on my knees just getting beat with poles and signs and being kicked and hit. It's crazy."

Harris said he's alive thanks to a stranger he only knows as Karen.

"She talked to me and kept me calm and really kept me awake. I was fading and she woke me up. I was losing so much blood, the people at the hospital told me I was lucky," Harris said.

Harris said he was at Saturday's rally to simply use words, not weapons.

"I was here as a counter-protester, but just to voice my opinion about the KKK and white supremacy and things like that," he said. "I wasn't out here being violent. I wasn't out here to be violent."

McAuliffe said that no property was damaged as a result of the protests and no shots were fired even though many in attendance were carrying weapons. In the future though, he said city officials will likely reconsider where similar protests are allowed to occur.

“Law enforcement did a great job. I can’t second guess. We just need to be careful about where we’re allowing these instance to occur, I’ll be very frank on that,” he said. “Move it to a place where you’re not in the middle of downtown. I think we’ve got to look at that.”


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  • Teddy Fowler Aug 14, 4:16 p.m.
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    The Weather Underground, Black Panthers, Black Liberation Party, Communist Organization, United Freedom Front, Occupy Wall Street, violent Antifa

  • Glenda Hightower Aug 14, 2:26 p.m.
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    Well, name these groups that are bad that supported democratic presidents and progressiveness, Teddy.

  • John Archer Aug 14, 2:22 p.m.
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    I'm not calling you a Nazi, but I am calling you naive and dismissive of other people's concerns about what's going on.

  • John Archer Aug 14, 1:40 p.m.
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    Minimizing threats and saying we're overreacting is a form of trying to silence someone. You can keep thinking what you want, but I'll keep calling out Nazis when I see them. Also, why does Trump still have Bannon, Miller, and Gorka as WH advisors? They are self-proclaimed, in order, Leninist, White Supremacist, and Nazi.

  • Wayne Hill Aug 14, 1:14 p.m.
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    Perhaps young man if you had not gone to a peaceful protest advocating and instigating violence, while throwing feces and urine, you would not have gotten your behind handed to you. Your attempts at trying sanctimony run as false as the news media. You will recover, I do hope you learned from this behavior.

  • Patrick Gentry Aug 14, 12:58 p.m.
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    Remember it will take months to ascertain fact from fiction. Preliminary information is contradictory and unreliable.

    All we know 100% at this time is the two rallies clashed for hours, that dozens were hurt and one killed over the entire days events. Two state troopers died in an helicopter crash as well while observing the events.

    The one thing I take away from this is this shows that the narrative that guns lead to shootings is completely false. Their were hundreds of armed citizens at that rally, absoultely zero shootings despite the violence between these groups.

    Have seen several reports of these citizens actually trying to prevent clashes and standing between the two groups to prevent further violence. That's the real story to me, that all this anti-gun rhetoric is totally false. If it wasn't their would of been much more loss of life yeasteday.

    What I can say defiantely is the media is just plain aweful pushing his fake news narrative that Trump supports hate groups.

  • Howard Roark Aug 14, 12:34 p.m.
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    And I'll say it again...

    Your argument and point are weak. You said the White Supremacists have not been empowered by Trump. I provided evidence to the contrary. I'm the only one listening to Duke? He threw that out there on Twitter, not some obscure alt-right website peddling extreme views. It was Twitter and it's 328 million active users.

    If he was looking to be bold, he succeeded.

    Your attempted redirection is amusing.

  • John Archer Aug 14, 12:33 p.m.
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    You are being willfully blind to their rising popularity. I would encourage you to read up on pre-Nazi Germany and how most people felt the exact same way you do. It didn't turn out so well for them. I prefer to try to get out ahead of it by being vocal about how Nazis and White Supremacists are against everything I stand for. You can keep your silence, but please stop trying to silence the rest of us by minimizing the issue.

  • Teddy Fowler Aug 14, 12:28 p.m.
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    It is not particularly a problem.... we have all kinds of fringe groups that believe in terrible things... they are not particularly a problem... so apparently removed 1600 of them... are all of them Nazi's? I just think you over sensationalized version of the problem is wrong... deceitful.... Everybody knows that those who believe in what this group believes is wrong.... but Nazism is still not a real problem in our country... situations that arise are quite rare...

  • Scott Patterson Aug 14, 12:27 p.m.
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    Just so all you pro nazis know... your next rally is scheduled for Sept 11 in Texas. The fact that 45 gave such a lackluster response has allowed for this next rally to happen. This time, I doubt they get such peaceful counter protesters...