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Man was told restaurant 'not safe for whites'... Beaten by up to 20 people?

Posted by on Aug. 26, 2014 at 6:48 PM
  • 215 Replies
2 moms liked this

Family members say a West Point man is in a Tupelo hospital after he and another man were attacked in a Huddle House parking lot by up to 20 people.

Ralph Weems, a 32-year-old Marine and Iraq war veteran, is in fair condition today according to officials at North Mississippi Medical Center.

Monday evening, police arrested 22-year-old Courtez McMillian of Okolona. He is being held in the Clay County Detention Center and will be charged with aggravated assault.

Brinkley said other arrests are also pending, and that most, if not all of the assailants appear to come from Monroe County. Detectives are reviewing video footage of the incident.

The Associated Press reports that Weems went to a Waffle House early Saturday. His friend David Knighten, an Air Force veteran of the Afghanistan war who was with him, told reporters that a man told him politely outside the restaurant that it wasn't a safe place for whites, because people were upset by the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Knighten said when he entered the restaurant, Weems was arguing with some people inside. The argument brought police, and Knighten and Weems left. On their way to Weems' house, they stopped at a Huddle House with an empty parking lot, according to the Associated Press.

The pair was followed to Huddle House by what Knighten said was around 20 people. Witnesses told police that the group was made up of black men, but couldn't identify any of them. One witness did provide a vehicle description and police said they are working on identifying the owner.

Knighten told reporters he was trying to diffuse the situation. When a security guard told everyone to leave, Knighten said he was blocked from getting to Weems, who was on the ground being kicked by a group of people. Knighten said others then attacked him.

"I do remember racial slurs being yelled from the crowd," he told the Associated Press.

Knighten couldn't be reached for comment so far on Monday, but he posted on Facebook Saturday.

"All my injuries were minor fractures and lacerations. I just wish I could have reached him sooner. Please keep your thoughts and prayers on Ralph," he wrote.

Brinkley, who could not be reached for comment Monday, said in the release that the attack right now is an aggravated assault investigation, and that the cause is not yet determined.

"This does not appear to be a hate crime," he said. "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."

Investigators are reviewing surveillance video and putting together a list of suspects. Brinkley encouraged those involved with come forward voluntarily before arrest warrants are issued.

Police said it is not theirs to charge a hate crime if the situation does turn out to be racially motivated, but that the District Attorney's office and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation have been briefed.

"It's up to the Grand Jury to make this determination. 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. It's within their discretion to add the hate crime enhancement," Brinkley said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 530-7151 or the West Point Police Department at (662) 494-1244.

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by on Aug. 26, 2014 at 6:48 PM
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Replies (1-10):
nurse1997
by Bronze Member on Aug. 26, 2014 at 7:10 PM

Hope they get the bastards!

Woodbabe
by Woodie on Aug. 26, 2014 at 7:13 PM

Poor guy...I hear he has to have brain surgery.

PerseyG
by Silver Member on Aug. 26, 2014 at 7:18 PM
2 moms liked this
I'm going to wait for the evidence and other side of the story....
LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Aug. 26, 2014 at 7:20 PM
1 mom liked this
Absolutely awful. Sickens me.
jllcali
by on Aug. 26, 2014 at 7:46 PM
1 mom liked this
Horrible. Glad they are investigating.
Landon2012
by on Aug. 26, 2014 at 8:37 PM
5 moms liked this

It sounds like a hate crime to me. Why beat someone up who had nothing to do with the brown shooting. I hope the man makes a full recovery and they charge those hooligans.

downeastmamax2
by Member on Aug. 26, 2014 at 8:44 PM
3 moms liked this

 I swear -- what is the world coming to!  I really hope he is able to make a full recovery and the police are able to capture and bring this idiots to justice.... I definitely agree that it sounds more likea hate crime than a "little disagreement" between two groups of people.

Sisteract
by Whoopie on Aug. 26, 2014 at 8:55 PM
1 mom liked this

Why were they arguing before the incident? 

Why did they enter the restaurant after being told it was not a safe place?

I wonder if they were less cautious because they were Marines?

So many better decisions could have been made- AND violence is never the answer.

turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Aug. 26, 2014 at 9:00 PM
2 moms liked this

reading this reminded me of my 14yo who was arguing / fighting with his 12yo sister...."and then I said, please put down my stuff and she threw it at me aiming for my head mum!  she really did"

and Im like.....really....REALLY f?!

Yeah I dont believe this is how it went down ....just like how I dont believe my sons version of events.

If it sounds stupid and unbelievable...thats because it usually is stupid and unbelievable.

jcrew6
by Platinum Member on Aug. 26, 2014 at 9:09 PM
5 moms liked this

All legitimate questions.  I wonder why the group of up to 20 followed them AFTER the police broke up the altercation. They had a motive and didn't just walk away. 

Quoting Sisteract:

Why were they arguing before the incident? 

Why did they enter the restaurant after being told it was not a safe place?

I wonder if they were less cautious because they were Marines?

So many better decisions could have been made- AND violence is never the answer.


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