Tyler Watkins Davis

Tyler Watkins Davis

A Florida man pleaded not guilty on Thursday to a felony assault charge associated with the beating of a Charlottesville man during the Aug. 12, 2017, Unite the Right rally.

Tyler Watkins Davis, 50, of Middleburg, Florida, will go to trial on Feb. 11 on a charge of malicious wounding. The three-day trial will center on the assault of DeAndre Harris following the breakup of the white supremacist rally. The rally ended with violence and an illegal assembly declaration before it could even begin.

Davis is accused of striking Harris with a stick as Harris lay on the ground in the Market Street Parking Garage while being beaten and kicked by several men. Davis is one of four men charged in the attack.

Harris suffered a broken wrist and lacerations to his head that required staples.

Davis, who is free on bond, will return to Florida, where he is being monitored by area agencies for bond compliance.

Jacob Scott Goodwin, of Arkansas, and Alex Michael Ramos, of Georgia, were sentenced earlier this year to eight and six years in prison, respectively, for their roles in the attack on Harris.

Daniel Patrick Borden, of Ohio, was convicted of malicious wounding in May. He was expected to be sentenced Monday but that has been continued until Jan. 7.

At a preliminary hearing this spring, Davis’ attorneys said Davis came with the League of the South — a neo-Confederate, white nationalist group — to protest the planned removal of Charlottesville’s Confederate statues. While at the rally, his attorneys said, Davis witnessed many violent acts but never partook in violence.

They said Davis left the park with other rally-goers, walking down Market Street while counter-protesters lined the sidewalk, taunting, yelling and occasionally clashing with the marchers.

The attorneys said Harris touched off the assault through his actions in engaging marchers in a tussle in front of the garage. Davis’s response, his attorneys argued, was a self-defense reaction.

At the same spring hearing, prosecutors said Harris had defended a friend and that Davis assaulted an unarmed Harris when he was down rather than walking away.

Harris, who also was charged in the incident, was found not guilty in March of assaulting marcher Harold Crews.

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Bryan McKenzie is a reporter for The Daily Progress. Contact him at (434) 978-7271, bmckenzie@dailyprogress.com or @BK_McKenzie on Twitter.

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