A second person who participated in the group beating of an African American man in a parking garage during last year’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville was convicted of malicious wounding Thursday. A Charlottesville Circuit Court jury recommended Alex Michael Ramos, 34, of Jackson, Ga., be sentenced to six years in prison for the attack on 20-year-old DeAndre Harris. A judge will set the sentence in August.
According to online footage of the assault, a band of men kicked and punched Harris repeatedly inside the downtown Charlottesville garage, smacking him with flagpoles and a wooden plank. Harris, a former special education instructional aide, was hurt so badly that a head laceration required eight staples and his left arm was broken. Ramos, dressed in a white tank top, joined the melee about halfway through and appeared to punch or strike Harris while Harris was scrambling on the floor.
Ramos’s trial in Charlottesville this week was the second in back-to-back proceedings related to the parking garage attack.
On Tuesday night, another jury convicted Jacob Scott Goodwin, 23, a white nationalist from Ward, Ark., of malicious wounding and recommended a sentence of 10 years. A judge will set Goodwin’s punishment in August.
Ramos’s attorney, J.P. “Jake” Joyce, said in an interview that during the trial he lobbied the jury to convict Ramos for an assault and battery charge, which carries a sentence of up to 12 months. Ramos had been charged with malicious wounding, which mandates a prison sentence of between five and 20 years.
Prosecutors asserted that Ramos not only punched Harris, but also kicked him, Joyce said in an interview. But, Joyce said he argued that there wasn’t sufficient proof that Ramos’s stomp landed on Harris.
Ramos did not testify. But shortly after the rally, he broadcast himself online raging about the attack. Ramos, who is of Puerto Rican descent, insisted that he wasn’t racist and ranted about the Charlottesville police’s inability to keep peace between protesters and counterprotesters.
About a month later, he also gave an interview to a CBS affiliate in Georgia, and said he was not a white supremacist. He called himself a “conservative” who regarded the event as a “free-speech rally.” Similar to Goodwin’s testimony, Ramos told the CBS station that he was acting in self-defense.
At the same time, Ramos praised white nationalists for coming to his aid during the rally after he was injured in the eyes. “They weren’t racist with me,” he said. The Southern Poverty Law Center identified Ramos as a former militiaman with an entity called the Georgia Security Force Three Percent.
Two more defendants in the attack, Daniel Patrick Borden of Ohio and Tyler Watkins Davis of Florida, face trials later this summer.