Marine, war veteran beaten in possible hate crime

BY DAVID BOROFF, New York Daily News

A 32-year-old Marine was beaten by a group of men outside of a Mississippi restaurant after he was warned it wasn’t safe for white people in the wake of the Michael Brown killing in Missouri, the serviceman’s friend claims.

Ralph Weems, an Iraq war veteran, was in fair condition at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, a hospital spokeswoman said Monday. But his brother-in-law said that Weems had undergone brain surgery. The hospital would not respond to The Associated Press regarding that claim.

A 22-year-old man was busted in the beating and other arrests likely are coming soon, cops say.

David Knighten, a friend of Weems, told The Associated Press that pair was followed early Saturday morning from a Waffle House in West Point, Miss., following an argument with black customers. A man outside the Waffle House told Weems that it wasn’t safe for white people in the wake of the fatal shooting of Brown by a Ferguson, Mo., cop earlier this month, according to Knighten.
The pair was then followed by at least 20 African-Americans as they stopped at a Huddle House on their way to Weems’ home, Knighten said. When Knighten emerged from the restroom, he said Weems was surrounded.

When a security guard asked everyone to leave, Knighten said he was separated from Weems and couldn’t reach him. Weems was on the ground being kicked by a group of people, Knighten said.

Knighten suffered broken facial bones and other injuries, he said.

“All my injuries were minor fractures and lacerations,” Knighten wrote on Facebook,¬†according to the Clarion-Ledger. “I just wish I could have reached him sooner. Please keep your thoughts and prayers on Ralph.”


Courtez McMillian, 22, was busted for aggravated assault, the West Point Police Department said. Cops are looking at video surveillance footage from the scene of the crime and have put together a list of other possible suspects.

“This does not appear to be a hate crime,” West Point Police Chief Tim Brinkley said in a press release,¬†according to the Clarion-Ledger. “It’s very early in this investigation but thus far the evidence and statements suggest that a verbal altercation turned physical and somebody got hurt.”

However, Brinkley said that could change.

“All we do is process the evidence and turn the case over to the district attorney who in turn presents it to the grand jury,” he said. “It’s within their discretion to add the hate crime enhancement.”

Brinkley also said cops were trying to find out why it seemed to take so long for anyone to call 911 from the Huddle House. When cops, arrived “all of the perpetrators had left,” but a man, seemingly Weems, was found unconscious in the parking lot.


Post navigation