DOJ Hasn’t Determined If Attack on White Veteran By Black Men is A Hate Crime
At least one witness described the incident as racially motivated. The attack was allegedly carried out in retaliation for the shooting of Missouri teen Michael Brown.
Former U.S. Marine and Iraq war veteran, Ralph Weems, 32, was severely beaten in late August, allegedly by a crowd of black men at the Huddle House restaurant near West Point, a small town south of Tupelo in the northern part of Mississippi.
Weems suffered brain injury from the attack.
In a statement released in August, the West Point Police said it would investigate the incident as an “aggravated assault,” not “a hate crime.”
Constance Levail McFarland, 21, Marquavious McMillian, 20, and Courtez McMillian, 22, have been charged with aggravated assault in connection with the alleged attack on the veteran.
The FBI, a component of DOJ, and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation have yet to determine if the attack will be prosecuted as a hate crime.
It is ultimately up to the DOJ Civil Rights Division to decide if it will open a federal hate crime case related to the brutal attack on Weems.
DOJ did not immediately respond to Breitbart News’ requests for comment on this report.
“Without getting into too much detail, he’s physically made a lot of improvements,” the victim’s father, Ralph Weems III, told The Clarion-Ledger. “Traumatic brain injury takes a long time to recover in a lot of different ways. He’s not coming home anytime soon.”
Weems was put in a medically induced coma following brain surgery. He has begun rehabilitation treatment at a VA facility in Texas where he has learned to walk again. He is expected to be transferred to a facility in either Louisiana or Arkansas.
Weems was with his friend David Knighten, an Air Force veteran who served in Afghanistan, when the attack took place in late August.
They both visited a Waffle House, but soon left after Knighten was warned by a man outside that the restaurant was not “safe for whites” because patrons were upset by the killing of Ferguson, Mo. teen Michael Brown weeks earlier.
Knighten said that when he walked inside the Waffle House, Weems was already arguing with about seven black men.
The pair left the Waffle House after a restaurant employee called the police and complained about a disturbance.
Knighten told the Associated Press that on the way to Weem’s house, they went into a Huddle House restaurant with a parking lot that was nearly vacant, adding that they were followed by more than 20 people.
The Air Force veteran said he came out of the restroom to find his friend Weems surrounded.
“I was trying to defuse the situation,” he said.
A security guard told everyone to leave after some shoving, according to Knighten. The crowd allegedly prevented him from leaving with Weems.
Knighten said people were kicking Weems while he was down.
“I do remember racial slurs being yelled from the crowd,” said Knighten.
Police reportedly arrived after the crowd had left.