Just before Harris ran into the garage shortly after 11 a.m. that day, he was standing at its entrance. He saw a fellow counterprotester being speared in the abdomen with a flagpole by Harold Crews, the North Carolina state chairman of the white-nationalist group League of the South. To protect his friend, Harris swung a flashlight, trying to knock the flagpole away.
Seconds after the fight with Crews, Harris rushed inside the parking garage, where he was pummeled.
When Goodwin took the stand, he told the jury he’d seen Harris assault Crews and then saw Harris charging toward him.
“I thought he was a hostile . . . to be honest, I was terrified,” Goodwin said, adding that he thought, “I’d probably perish or be sent to the hospital and be terribly hurt.”
He said he engaged in self-defense and felt he had only one choice, which was to kick Harris four times while Harris was falling down on the garage floor and scrambling to get back up multiple times.
“I was trying to neutralize a threat,” Goodwin said.
For the entire trial, neither the prosecutors nor the defense attorney questioned Goodwin about his affiliation with any white-supremacist groups. Last month, in an NBC documentary featuring interviews with Goodwin and his parents, he says he’s a member of a group called the Arkansas ShieldWall Network and that he advocates for “white civil rights.”
At the rally, Goodwin wore two pins, one bearing the number 88, a code for “Heil Hitler,” and a second with the logo of the Traditionalist Worker Party, a white-nationalist group.
During closing arguments, Goodwin’s lawyer suddenly raised the issue. “They want you to convict this man because he’s white, and DeAndre is a black man,” Woodward told the jury, which included two African Americans.