Judge Decreases Charlottesville Attacker's Sentence From 20 Years to Less Than Four

Local media in Daniel Borden’s hometown of Maumee, Ohio, said that he was known for his swastika drawings and Nazi salutes in high school. In 2017, at 18 years old, he traveled to the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville where he proceeded to beat DeAndre Harris, a Black man, leaving him with eight staples in his head, a broken wrist and cuts and bruises.

His weapon of choice: a six-foot wooden plank.

Borden was identified by his white “Commie Killer” construction helmet in a social media video, and his high school friends outed him after the attack. He was swinging the plank in the video from over his own head down on Harris three times, connecting and breaking the plank on Harris.

But the Charlottesville Circuit Judge Richard Moore factored in a guilty plea, his age and his decision to waive his preliminary hearing into sentencing.

Borden, who was supposed to be sentenced in October of 2018, also was given more time to gather witnesses to testify on his behalf.

Moore suspended 16 years of the sentence and required only
3 years and 10 months of time to serve with an additional 5 months probation, but agreed with the prosecution’s assessment that Borden appeared “gleeful” in one of the several videos documented that day.

“One thing is clear,” Moore said. “Borden felt he was justified. He was not.”

“This is one of the worst beatings I’ve ever seen as a lawyer or judge,” Moore said. Yet Moore still gave the 20 year old white man a break.

Borden’s parents maintain that he is not a racist. His father, Rick Borden, a retired Air Force pilot, blames Harris for the attack, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, and wrote the judge a letter counting the amount of people of color the family has.

He said that his son was traumatized by the violence and was only defending himself.

Shaun King tweeted when the sentencing news initially broke that the “first bigot that we identified in the Charlottesville assault of DeAndre Harris” was sentenced and that “on the stand his unapologetically racist mother literally said, ‘Shaun King is fake news’.”

Borden, now 20, is the last of four men that were charged in the beating of Harris, and two other assailants, Jacob Scoot Goodwin of Arkansas and Alex Michael Ramos of Georgia, were sentenced to eight and six years, respectively, in prison in August 2018.

In May in the Charlottesville Circuit Court, Borden entered a plea that acknowledged there was enough evidence to find him guilty, but didn’t actually plead guilty. “His argument is he didn’t have malice in his heart or mind when he did this,” said defense attorney Mike Hallahan.

In October, four other white men and members of the Rise Above Movement, were also charged with assaulting a Black man, two women and a minister at the rally.

Two of themBenjamin Daley, 25, of Redondo Beach; and Michael Miselis, 29, of Lawndale are being held without bond and have their trial scheduled to begin this month. Cole White, 24, of Clayton, plead guilty last month to conspiracy to violate federal riots statute and admitted to swinging his torch and striking several individuals and that none of these acts of violence was taken in self-defense,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office

Reader Question: If Borden were a Black 20 year old who beat a white man, would he get the same sentence

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