Daniel Borden has been named by police as a person of interest in the Charlottesville attack on an African-American man, Deandre Harris, whose beating was published in a viral video that galvanized social justice advocates, who sought to identify the suspects because they thought police were not doing enough.
The person of interest also goes by the name Dan Borden. The beating was overshadowed by the horrific murder of counter protester Heather Heyer, but it’s getting more deserved attention now because of a viral video of the attack, a concerted effort to identify the five men allegedly involved by journalist and social justice advocate Shaun King, and police confirming that Borden is in fact a person of interest.
Borden has not been arrested or charged with a crime. Many media, including Heavy, had held off on naming Borden until he was identified as a person of interest by police because web sleuths have identified the wrong people before in national tragedies.
Harris was beaten during the “Unite the Right” rally and corresponding counter protests by a group of men in Charlottesville in a parking lot near a police station, according to WSET-TV. A GoFundMe site to help Harris has raised almost $150,000.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Borden Has Now Been Named as a ‘Person of Interest’ in the Beating
For days, pictures (above) that were alleged to be Dan Borden circulated around social media. Police now say that Dan Borden, formerly of Mason, Ohio, is a person of interest in the Harris attack.
WCPO-TV reported that “police in Charlottesville confirmed to reporter Hillary Lake that Borden is a ‘person of interest’ in the attack on Deandre Harris.”
Harris was attacked by a group of men and “suffered a broken wrist and a chipped tooth, and had eight staples in his scalp to close a head wound,” according to The Associated Press.
Harris described the beating on GoFundMe:
I arrived at Emancipation Park around 11 AM as a counter-protester to voice my opinion on racial tensions and to literally stand up for what I believe in. I was only there for a few minutes before I was hit with water bottles, maced with pepper spray, and had derogoratoy slurs hurled at me. Just forty-five minutes in to the rally our Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency to aid state response to violence. About fifteen minutes or so after that I was brutally attacked by white supremacists in the parking garage right beside the Charlottesville Police Station. I was chased and beat with metal poles. I was knocked unconscious repeatedly. Every time I went to stand up I was knocked back down….if it was not for my friends that I came with I would have been beaten to a pulp. No law enforcement stepped in to help me. Once I was dragged off to some near by steps I was taken to the designated area for injured protesters & counter-protesters.
Harris linked to this video:
He added, “I was diagnosed with a concussion, an ulnar fracture, and had to receive eight staples in my head. I also have a laceration across my right eyebrow, abrasions on my knees & elbows, and a chipped tooth. I’m so blessed to be alive to tell my story and to show the world that racism is very much still alive.”
WCPO-TV explained in a lengthy statement why the station had waited to report Borden’s name: “We felt a responsibility to gain confirmation from someone official that Borden was charged with a crime or at the very least he is a suspect. Without that confirmation – despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of people had seen Borden’s photo on social media – we did not report the allegations against him,” the station wrote, noting that, “King and his legion of social media amateur sleuths already misidentified one man. In past violent incidents — like the Atlanta Olympics bombing and Sandy Hook shooting — the media had misidentified suspects.”
Cincinnati.com also reported police had confirmed that Borden, 19, “is a person of interest in their investigation into the beating of a black man captured in a viral photo and video during white supremacist protests that turned deadly thee.”
“When you look at the photos and video, it appears to be him,” Charlottesville police Sgt. J.R. Via told The Cincinnati Enquirer in an interview.
2. Borden Is From Mason, Ohio & Has a Troubled Past
James Alex Fields, an alleged Hitler admirer accused of murdering Heyer, is from Ohio, although he originally hailed from Kentucky.
Borden is also from Ohio. According to WLWT-TV, there were signs of trouble in his past.
King, as you can see from the above Twitter post, outright accused Borden of being a white supremacist. Now that his identity is known, local media outlets have dug into his past.
Borden, 18, was previously “accused of pulling a knife on a classmate years ago,” WLWT reported. The mother of that classmate told the television station, “I wasn’t surprised, I was disgusted and just sick about everything I was seeing.”
The mother alleged that Borden called her son “Jew Boy” and made fun of the size of his nose, according to WLWT.
Borden attended Mason High School in Mason, Ohio, but he didn’t graduate, according to Cincinnati.com.
A Facebook page attributed to Borden has now been deleted, although some screenshots were archived.
3. Borden Is Accused of Drawing Swastikas on Notebooks
There were earlier signs that Borden aligned with white supremacist ideology, WLWT reported.
“According to a report from 2012, Borden brought a knife to school, took it out and put it 5 inches from” another boy’s face, That boy also told police that Borden allegedly “drew swastikas on paperwork,” according to WLWT.
According to Cincinnati.com, Borden allegedly “belonged to a gang called the Brothers of Confederacy, drew swastikas on his school papers and performed Nazi salutes.”
His deleted Facebook name used the middle name “Boc,” according to reports.
4. New York Daily News Reporter Shaun King Has Tried to Help Identify the Attackers
Since the attack on Harris, New York Daily News reporter Shaun King has sought the public’s help to identify the men, even offering a reward. Note: Heavy has added the word alleged in several places below into King’s social media communications because people – Borden included – are innocent until convicted in a court of law in American society. Again, a reminder: Borden has not been arrested or convicted of any crime, and amateur sleuths have identified people wrongly in the past.
King wrote, in part:
IMPORTANT. Please share.
We are offering a $10,000 reward for the proper identification of the men in this photo who are brutally assaulting Deandre Harris. This is a crime. Not only is it felony assault, but I have spoken to witnesses who heard these men use racial slurs against Deandre throughout the assault. In this post, I will include every photo I have and tell you everything I know about this incident.
I have spoken to multiple eyewitnesses, including Zach Roberts, the brave man who snapped the photos of the assault and witnessed the entire thing from start to finish. These white supremacists started this brutal assault with Deandre and had actually been harassing him for blocks, as witnessed by several people I spoke with.
King alleged, “Here is what we know… At least 5 men brutally and illegally assaulted Deandre by repeatedly punching, kicking, and hitting him with weapons….We have already identified the man in the hardhat as (allegedly) Daniel ‘Dan’ Borden. He has not yet been located or arrested. But multiple witnesses described his (alleged) brutality in this incident…”
You can see the photos that King posted here and read his full statement here:
King later wrote on a comment thread on his page, “UPDATE: We fully expect this thread to make white supremacists nervous. We see them lying with false information on here already. We will independently verify every report.” King’s profile on Twitter reads, “Senior Justice Writer @NYDailyNews; Commentator @TheYoungTurks & @TJMShow; #BlackLivesMatter; @WeWillBoycott; http://ShaunKing.org.”
5. Harris Alleged That Police Didn’t Take His Beating Seriously
Harris told WSET-TV that police didn’t seem interested in what happened to him at first. According to WSET, quoting The Associated Press, reported that Harris, of Virginia, “says police failed to come to his aid as he was beaten by white supremacists during Saturday’s violent protests that led to three deaths.”
According to AP and WSET, Harris, 21, is an instructional assistant for Charlottesville City Schools.
“A member of a Southern Nationalist group says Harris and his friends instigated the attack,” the report alleged.