A mob of 20 to 30 black juveniles went on a rampage against a white family at a family friendly event in Wilson Park in Florence, Alabama, allegedly slinging racial slurs as they fired a Taser at the husband and beat him.
The man’s son, 14-year-old Brandon Dawes, was attacked, too, WHNT News reported.
“Randomly, they just hit me in the back of the head,” he said. “I didn’t think nothing of it at first because, well, I thought maybe somebody tripped or something.”
Juli Dawes, meanwhile, said her husband, Kevin, reached out to shield their son and then the group of juveniles started attacking him.
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Husband and father Kevin said: “I got in between him and the attacker and told him to go toward the van and that’s when I started getting attacked,” the local news station reported.
Juli said she was in the van with her four-year-old, watching the scene unfold.
“My four-year-old said, ‘Look, Mommy, they’re dancing,’” she said, WHNT News reported. “I said, ‘No, baby, they’re not dancing; they’re fighting.’ Then I see my husband, and he’s on the ground being Tased. … There’s this wall of people, and there was nothing I could do.”
She also said the juveniles were “using slurs of race” during the assault, which took place at the community’s First Fridays event, billed as a family friendly affair.
Florence Police Chief Ron Tyler said investigators are considering whether or not to regard the incident as a hate crime.
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“We are considering all angles,” he said, AL.com reported. “There are no set of circumstances that would ever justify an unprovoked attack by a group of thugs, and we will not allow any group to hijack the family friendly First Fridays event.”
Kevin suffered a fractured eye socket and several Taser burns while Brandon, the 14-year-old, suffered unspecified minor injuries. AL.com reported the two were both attacked in the face and have consulted a surgeon to deal with the wounds.
Police have asked for help identifying the suspects.
AL.com reported the incident is the second possible hate crime this month. The other incident at a Huntsville club a few days ago involved an attack on a “gay” man who was similarly injured in the face. The victim in that incident said he was assaulted because he was gay, though police didn’t immediately record the attack as a hate crime.