Harris's Fight Escalates: NY Law Firm Joins His Case Against Augusta County's Sheriff, Deputies
Written by: Sam Orlando
STAUNTON, VA — Marvin Harris's story is one of tenacity and a relentless pursuit of justice. As we reported in June, Harris, representing himself, managed an improbable victory against the combined legal might of Augusta County, keeping his excessive force claim alive in federal court. Now, according to public filings in the case, he's augmenting his legal team, signaling a shift from a lone David battling Goliath to a formidable legal squadron ready for a titanic showdown.
A recent filing in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia reveals that Amina Matheny-Willard, Harris's counsel, has motioned for the admission of Zachary Timothy Peter Lawrence, a managing member of the New York-based Lawrence Law Firm PLLC, to join Harris's legal battalion. Lawrence, renowned for his expertise in federal torts and civil rights cases, has represented similar clients across the nation, according to various Court records reviewed by Breaking Through.
The gravity of Lawrence's addition to Harris's legal team cannot be understated, given where his case began. Harris, an inmate, began his journey in the legal world unassisted, using sheer determination to file a §1983 Complaint against the Augusta County Sheriff and his deputies. Harris' complaint detailed a horrific beating he says he received from several Augusta County deputies. Defying expectations, his complaint thwarted Augusta County's motion to dismiss his lawsuit, an unusual feat noted by the likes of Antwhon Suiter, leader of the Shenandoah Valley's Black Lives Matter organization.
The dramatic turning point of Harris's case serves as a beacon to many other victims seeking redress for alleged police brutality, according to Suiter. Harris' unyielding efforts not only secured him a place in the federal court but have also earned him legal allies ready to stand alongside him in his pursuit of justice.
While the trauma of his violent arrest in October 2020 still lingers, with grave injuries leading to a series of health complications, Harris's latest move epitomizes resilience. His mother, Shereba Harris, has said, "There's really no amount of money that can ever help erase that night from my son." But with this strengthened team, there is renewed hope from the family that the court will act justly, ensuring that such traumatic experiences do not go unpunished.
Harris's initial solo journey, coupled with the emerging high-caliber legal ensemble, highlights the broader issues at stake: police accountability, the plight of inmates seeking justice, and the broader societal implications of systemic police violence. But as Harris's story unfolds, it also promises hope — a testament that when one stands firm against injustice, support may come from unexpected quarters.
As Harris prepares for the subsequent stages of his legal battle, equipped now with a formidable legal team, the eyes of Augusta County and the nation will surely be watching, waiting to see how this emblematic case will shape the future dialogues on police accountability and civil rights.