Warned That Whites Weren’t Welcome, Called Racial Slurs, White Veteran Beaten Almost to Death…but Black Police Chief Declares It Isn’t a Hate Crime
The altercation began at about 1 a.m. when Ralph Weems and the friend, David Knighten, chose to go inside the Waffle House. Knighten said they made this decision after a man in the parking lot diplomatically suggested that they should leave because the patrons inside were angry about the Aug. 9 police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Thus, the unidentified man explained, the restaurant would not be a safe place for two white people.
According to Knighten, Weems, 32, began arguing with customers not long after he entered the Waffle House. It’s not clear what was said or what was in dispute. After the police eventually showed up, Weems and Knighten left.
On the way home, the pair decided to stop at a Huddle House — a similar, less iconic eatery that dots the South. The Huddle House was in West Point. Miss.
A group of people followed Weems and Knighten to the mostly empty Huddle House parking lot. A security guard told everyone to leave. However, Weems and Knighten found that some of the men had blocked their way.
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.
Police Chief Tim 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.