The League of the South and two of its leaders have filed a motion to be dismissed from a lawsuit filed by DeAndre Harris, who was beaten by a mob after the Unite the Right rally.
Harris, a counterprotester who was assaulted at the 2017 white supremacist rally, filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Charlottesville in August, exactly two years after the rally. The complaint alleges a conspiracy to violate his civil rights.
Harris’ lawsuit names nearly three dozen defendants, including lead rally organizers Jason Kessler, neo-Nazi Richard Spencer, Harris’ six attackers and various white supremacist individuals and organizations. According to the complaint, Harris has moved from Suffolk to Charlottesville since the rally.
After almost six months, electronic summonses were issued to defendants at the end of January and on Monday the League of the South, Michael Hill and Michael R. Tubbs became the first defendants to file a response.
Hill, a founding member of the neo-Confederate group, and Tubbs, a Florida-based leader, jointly filed a motion with the League of the South to be dismissed from the complaint. The defendants claim that no factual allegations within the complaint point to actions they did to encourage violence.
“Although plaintiff alleges that third parties at the Unite the Right rally conspired to act and actually acted in a violent, intimidating and threatening manner,” Harris has not proved that Hill, Tubbs or League of the South conspired to act or actually acted in a concerted manner with his attackers, the motion reads. “Plaintiff’s complaint does not contain sufficient factual assertions, accepted as true, to state any claim to relief that is plausible on its face against [Hill], [Tubbs], League of the South.”
Harris’ suit alleges that the defendants — specifically Kessler and Spencer — created a conspiracy to deny black and Jewish people equal protection under the law, leading to the physical assault on Harris.
“A conspiracy to violate Harris’s rights, and the rights of other black and Jewish people and counterprotesters, took place in Charlottesville. In furtherance of this conspiracy, defendants engaged in campaigns of violence, threats and intimidation at the park and its outskirts,” the complaint reads. “This conspiracy involved the attack on Harris because he was black and was designed to intimidate and harass Harris and those similarly situated.”
Harris’ complaint also details the assault he suffered in the Market Street Garage, a video of which has been viewed millions of times. Six men were implicated in the attack and four — Daniel Borden, Tyler Davis, Jacob Goodwin and Alex Ramos — have since been arrested on malicious wounding charges and convicted.
Goodwin and Ramos tried unsuccessfully to appeal their convictions and are currently serving eight- and six-year prison sentences, respectively. Borden and Davis accepted plea agreements, meaning they cannot appeal their convictions.
Two men remain unidentified and are still under investigation by the Charlottesville Police Department.
Following the rally, Harris was charged with unlawful wounding, of which he was acquitted in March 2018.
In addition to the conspiracy to commit violence against people of color and Jews, Harris’ complaint argues that, as a result of the attack, he was subjected to the intentional infliction of emotional distress and that the defendants aided and abetted assault, battery and emotional distress.
Harris seeks undisclosed actual, punitive and exemplary damages from his attackers and the organizers, as well as medical expenses and attorney’s fees.
Counsel for Harris has not yet responded to the motion from the League of the South, Hill and Tubbs. No hearings have been set in the suit.