While police in Mobile, Alabama, have arrested a suspect in the beating of a white man by a group of black men, and the Mayor has asked federal authorities to investigate the attack as a hate crime, the inspiration for attack is still unclear.
Matthew Owens, the victim, is in the hospital with severe wounds, including a fractured skull. Terry Rawls, the suspect, faces charges of first-degree assault, and police expect to arrest three more assailants, news reports say. Rawls was released on $7,500 bond, the Mobile Press-Register reported.
Owens’ sister, who witnessed the attack, says the beating occurred after her brother confronted some youngsters stealing from yards, and that someone in the crowd claimed the beating was “justice for Trayvon,” a reference to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, on February 26.
But an angry neighbor claims Owens is a bigot who got what he deserved after he pulled knives and confronted children playing basketball near his home.
The incident concerning Owens on April 21 in the city’s Pleasant Valley neighborhood began when he confronted some children playing basketball in the street, according to the first accounts to emerge. Their ball landed in Owens’ yard. According to NBC affiliate WPMI, Owens pulled blades. One of the kids claims that they apologized, but that Owens said “get the F out of the yard!” the station reported.
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