From top-left to lower-right:Teryn Robinson, 18, Tray Holland, 19, Justin Alexander, 20, Derick Williams, 22, Kino Jones, 25, and Montrez Jones, 22. (Seneca Police Dept.)
SENECA, SC (FOX Carolina) -
Seneca police said they arrested six men Wednesday in connection with the beating of a Franklin, NC, man outside a restaurant earlier this month.
The attack happened just before 1 a.m. on March 17 in the parking lot of Applebee's at 696 Bypass 123.
According to an incident report, police arrived to find a man lying face down in the parking lot.
The report said that a woman told police that there were several black men attacking the 32-year-old white man, whose identity was redacted.
"Upon exiting the restaurant he was jumped by a mob of individuals, and severely beaten about the head and torso," said John Covington, the Seneca police chief. "The report was that racial slurs were being used toward the victim."
The man told police that he didn't know what happened, didn't remember coming to the restaurant and didn't know why he was attacked, according to the report.
We spoke with the man, who, almost a week later, has two black eyes and a swollen face. He told us he was leaving the restaurant when a group of black men near the door called him a "tree honkey." He said he had never heard that, but it "tickled" him, so he turned to ask them what it meant. He said that is when one man hit him, and another hit him in the head with a stun gun; he fell, and others began kicking him in the head.
The report said an anonymous witness told investigators the white man was overheard inside the restaurant, making racial comments about black people and using the "N" word. However, Covington said that investigators have not been able to confirm that.
"The person refused to give their name or a statement," Covington said. "Therefore, it remains uncorroborated."
On Thursday, police said they arrested 18-year-old Teryn Robinson, 19-year-old Tray Holland, 20-year-old Justin Alexander, 22-year-old Derick Williams, 25-year-old Kino Jones and 22-year-old Montrez Jones in connection with the attack.
Police said all six men were from the Seneca area and that they were each charged with assault and battery by mob.
Precious Smith, who said she was at the restaurant the night of the attack and is related to three of the suspects, said all of this has been blown out of proportion. She said whatever was said did not cause the fight.
"We are very open-hearted people," Smith said. "We are not going to mess with anybody unless they mess with us. We have all kinds of friends. I am not racist, and by their acquaintances, I don't think they're racist."
Police said their investigation determined that the attack may have been racially motivated. They said their findings have been sent to the FBI to determine if it should be investigated as a hate crime under federal law. South Carolina does not have a hate crime law.
Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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