Donâ€™t look away. Four white neo-Nazis are beating a Black man, crawling on the ground, with their metal poles and a yellow hunk of lumber. The beating continues â€” thereâ€™s blood on the pavement.
Our photographer, Zach D. Roberts, continues to shoot â€” even as a white militant raises a 9mm pistol to his face.
Zach got a shot of the gun and gunman, too. Luckily, the gunman didnâ€™t shoot back.
One photo has gone viral internationally. These others we bring you here because they must be seen. Including, for the first time, the gunman.
Welcome to Charlottesville, USA. Trumpâ€™s America, month eight.
The young victim is Deâ€™Andre Harris, a special education teacher in Charlottesville.
According to the President, the violence was perpetrated on â€œmany sides.â€Â The only sides I see are the beaters and the beaten; Deâ€™Andre on the ground with the alt-Right storm troopers with weapons.
Zach D. Roberts is an investigative photojournalist who has been with the Palast Investigations team for eleven years.
Here is Zachâ€™s report:
Deâ€™Andre Harris, the school teacher, was walking down the street with friends, trading taunts with the white supremacist demonstrators.
Harrisâ€™ jibes were hardly fighting words. â€œGo home!Â Leave town!â€Â Locals like Harris resented the jack-ass invasion.
Thatâ€™s when fists flew and Harris was slammed by one of the white guys straight into a parking lot barrier so hard the yellow wooden arm broke.
Deâ€™Andre fell to the ground, alone, surrounded by all these white guys â€” and they started beating him with the poles that almost all the white supremacists were carrying.
In the photos, you can see one white guy picking up the yellow barrier arm and raising the three foot hunk of lumber high over his head before he brings it down on Deâ€™Andre â€” who is being kicked by another white manâ€™s boots while two others bring down metal rods on the prone man.
And no, thatâ€™s not a cop on the left in the photo â€” thatâ€™s a neo-Nazi in full riot gear.Â (Where were the cops? Good question:Â this parking garage is next to the Charlottesville Police Station.)
Deâ€™Andre was saved when some gutsy young Black men â€” with no weapons â€” ran into the underground garage, which promted the white posse to scatter.
Except for one.Â The gunman.
He pulled out what looks to be a 9mm pistol, maybe a Glock semi-automatic, and positioned himself to fire on the rescue squad. But then he heard the click of Zachâ€™s camera, just three feet away, and realized he was getting photographed.
Simultaneously, Zach realized heâ€™d left his bullet-proof vest in his car.Â (Iâ€™ll have that discussion with him later.)
In this strange stand-off, the camera proved mightier than the bullet. In his tiny little brain, the would-be shooter figured it would be wiser to quickly conceal the weapon and flee.
Deâ€™Andre â€œran into the garageâ€™s staircase and collapsed bleeding profusely from the face.â€ Zach waited with him and his protectors for half an hour but no ambulance arrived for him or the other people who were injured.
So, thatâ€™s the news from Trumpâ€™s USA.Â Nazis marching in the street, nuclear war with Korea, the â€œmilitary optionâ€ for Venezuela.Â And itâ€™s only Monday.
I was going to write about Korea, then Venezuela, but then the Armed Alt-Righteous exposed themselves to Zachâ€™s lens.
Photojournalist Zach D. Roberts is Associate Producer and stake-out videographer for Greg Palastâ€™s film, â€œThe Best Democracy Money Can Buy.â€Â We are now making the post-election update.Â You can add your name as a producer for a minimum tax deductible contribution of $1,000Â ($500 for Co-Producer) or get a screen credit as a supporter for $100 minimum donation.Â And youâ€™ll get a signed copy of your film on DVD. Or help us fund our continued investigation of ‘their’ vote-swiping schemes for any amount no matter how large or small.
The Virginia story is not over. We will be going back to Virginia on September 9, to the capital, Richmond, to fight for the right for Black folk to arm themselves with the one weapon these white punks fear most: the vote.
Between snapping photos of America gone mad, Zach has been working these past four years with me on a story of how Trumpâ€™s henchman, one Kris Kobach, now head of Trumpâ€™s so-called, â€œElection Integrity Commission,â€ conceived of a secretive program to remove hundreds of thousands of Black Americans from the voter rolls.
Virginia removed an astonishing 41,637 voters based on Kobachâ€™s accusation they could have voted twice.Â Not one of the accused was arrested â€” but, you wonâ€™t be surprised to hear, the list of the â€œscrubbedâ€ was filled with African-American names. And Virginia is removing tens of thousands more with this Jim Crow tactic â€” despite a nominally Democratic Governor, Terry McAuliffe.
Virginia refused us their â€œscrubâ€ lists.Â But Zach Roberts, by stellar investigative work, obtained a copy â€” half a million names in all â€” much to the stateâ€™s dismay. And those lists are every bit as obscenely racist and, in the long run, far more wounding, than the iron rods of the neo-Nazis.
So, thank you, Zach, for the photos that bear witness and inside documents that reveal their secret schemes.
For the rest of us, our job is simpler: not to look away.
Before turning to journalism as an investigative reporter for The Guardian and BBC Television, Greg Palast was an investigator of fraud and racketeering for governments and labor unions worldwide. His investigations have appeared in Rolling Stone, Harper’s and New Statesman. Known as the reporter who exposed how Katherine Harris and Jeb Bush purged thousands of Black voters from Florida rolls to steal the 2000 election for George Bush. Palast has written four New York Times bestsellers, including Armed Madhouse, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, now a non-fiction movie.
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