It apparently wasn’t enough that white supremacists beat up DeAndre Harris during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville earlier this month. Now, one of the men involved is trying to claim it was self-defense.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, online alt-righters have been working hard since Alex Ramos, one of Harris’ assailants, was arrested. According to Ramos and his supporters, the multiple-person attack on Harris was an act of self-defense.
After being wanted in his home state of Georgia, Ramos turned himself in on Tuesday — but prior to going to the police, he had already begun spinning the story to make himself the victim.
“It was not a deliberate attack, it was a defensive attack. These men attacked us,” Ramos told Atlanta’s CBS46. “In my scenario, I thought I was going there on a defensive mode. You know, defending people from being attacked. I hit the man one time. Before I got there, men beat him with sticks and shields. I had nothing to do with that.”
This was not his first admission of guilt, the Journal-Constitution notes. Ramos posted a video shortly after the rally where he expressed anger towards President Donald Trump for denouncing the violence in Charlottesville.
“Hey, Trump, you called me a f***ing Nazi because I helped those guys beat some a**,” Ramos said in his video. “Listen, man, when you are defending your people from getting harmed by the enemy, now we have a common enemy so now, yeah, we might actually stand together.”
Ramos and his supporters online point to a video, recorded from the other direction of the one of Harris’ beating that went viral, depicting Harris swinging at a white man engaged in a fight over a flag with another young black man. According to Harris’ lawyer, that man was his friend, and he swung to help protect him.
Under Virginia law, Harris’ lawyer Lee Merritt argues, Ramos and the other men who pursued and assaulted him cannot claim self-defense because they did so after he retreated (as video of Harris’ assault shows).
“You have to perceive yourself as being in some kind of danger,” Merritt told the Journal-Constitution, and he argues that Ramos was not.
Ironically, the Journal-Constitution notes, one of Ramos’ biggest supporters online is a fellow Georgian white supremacist named Michael Weaver who once assaulted a black man and claimed self-defense. In 2010, Weaver pepper-sprayed a man “while distributing anti-Semitic pamphlets,” and although he plead guilty, he later recanted, saying he had bad legal advice and had been acting to defend himself.
Watch Ramos argue that he beat up Harris in self-defense below, via CBS46.