FLINT TOWNSHIP, MI – Michigan police have announced criminal charges against an 18-year-old man who brutally attacked a Macy’s store manager at the Genesee Valley Center.
On Friday afternoon, Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton announced he charged Damire Palmer with “assault to do great bodily harm less than murder,” ABC 12 WJRT-TV reported.
The charges come after video of the June 15 incident had circulated social media for nearly two weeks. The viral video shows a black man beating a white man inside a store, and the 22-year-old man who filmed the incident is allegedly Damire’s brother, FT Quay.
“I just want people to know the real story of really what happened and what’s in the description of me and my brother just walking into Macy’s just minding our own business….
And just the fact of the remark that he said that we all heard. And just, what else were we supposed to do? In this age and time, he didn’t know what else to do. That was just his instinct.”
The viral beating of a Macy's employee in Michigan was "unprovoked," despite racism claims, the department store says.
Flint Township police are looking for the man seen hitting the employee and “a second individual” who was with him.https://t.co/dl8Md3u6h3
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) June 19, 2020
The censored video posted by New York Post shows a white man, who is wearing a mask inside a clothing store, being punched and knocked to the floor by a black man. The white man attempts to crawl away, but is punched twice more by his attacker.
The black man reportedly “uses the slur himself between blows — telling the white man, ‘Don’t touch me, n—er,’” according to New York Post.
MLive-The Flint Journal reports that when the white man was knocked down, he told his assailant, “I didn’t touch you … I’m sorry,” yet was punched two more times by Palmer.
ABC 12 WJRT-TV also reported that Palmer is “heard repeatedly calling the manager the N-word and pushing him down as the manager asks him to stop.”
Macy’s says attack on employee in Flint Township store in Michigan was unprovoked https://t.co/eQzJQX6ei8
— Niraj Warikoo (@nwarikoo) June 22, 2020
Flint Township Police were looking for Palmer and his brother in connection with the case, and investigators still have not been able to question the brothers, according to ABC 12 WJRT-TV.
However, the Genesee County Prosecutor moved forward with charges against Damire Palmer, the only brother currently charged.
Leyton explained he received the case just this week on Tuesday, and after reviewing video on Wednesday and talking to additional witnesses, he said the evidence so far only points to assault and that there is only enough evidence to charge one person.
Leyton, who said the 18-year-old is the attacker in the video, said the attack was unprovoked.
“The internal video for Macy’s shows the suspect approaching from behind the victim. The store manager appears unaware that he’s even there,” he said.
#WANTED: Police need your help finding two suspects they say were involved in the alleged assault at the Flint Township Macy's on June 15. Do you have information about Damire Palmer or Damarquay Palmer?
— WNEM TV5 (@WNEMTV5news) June 20, 2020
The prosecutor said there was no evidence that the victim said anything inappropriate. “Even if there were verbal provocation, which we have no evidence of, violent retaliation is not permitted by the law,” he said.
Andrea Schwartz, senior director of media relations for Macy’s, gave a statement via email to MLive-The Flint Journal:
“We are deeply saddened about the incident that took place on Monday (June 15) at Macy’s Genesee Valley as the safety of Macy’s customers and colleagues is our top priority.
Violence in the workplace of any kind is unacceptable. All the materials from the evening have been reviewed and it is clear that the attack was unprovoked.
We are working closely with local authorities on this investigation, and will defer any further comments about the case to them per policy.”
“I’m behind my brother fully, because with everything else going on, what else can we do at this point?” Quay reportedly said. “All the hate and everything is not needed because nothing works. It was spur of the moment. That was his instinct.”
According to New York Post, Quay said he has been deluged with racist threats on social media since the incident, but has not been contacted by police.
Connecticut man arrested for Twitter threats: “Imma kill a cop today”, “break every one of these cops ribcages”
SANDY HOOK, CT – While freedom of speech is a beautiful thing, verbal or written threats made against people are far from protected – as one local man from Sandy Hook, Connecticut recently found out.
Reports indicate that a man posted that he wanted to “kill a cop today” on Twitter on June 24th, and found himself arrested after making said post.
Alexander Hassinger, who goes by the Twitter handle @forwearenothing, posted the following on Twitter that led to his arrest:
“Imma kill a cop today and when they ask me why i did it imma tell them he was acting nervous and looked at me wrong.”
Apparently, a Twitter user based out of Virginia saw the offensive posting and promptly contacted authorities based out of Connecticut.
Police reports show that Hassinger was arrested by state police from his home located in Sandy Hook shortly after 5:00 p.m. on June 24th, mere hours after making the threatening post. Not long after Hassinger’s arrest, he was subsequently freed after posting a $10,000 bond.
You’d think that the experience would have toned down the smug and arrogant antics of the accused, but apparently, he’s being rather nonchalant toward the whole matter based upon his subsequent posts detailing his arrest.
On the same day that Hassinger was arrested and bonded out, he posted the following on Twitter:
“i got arrested for a tweet y’all that’s wild.”
However, many online are trolling Hassinger for not employing enough common sense to have avoided using the platform to boisterously proclaim threats against law enforcement officers.
— DEATHCAP (@JasonVo69363901) June 26, 2020
In another tweet following his disregard for the whole situation, Hassinger wrote the following:
“i was arrested today for essentially cyber bullying the police while Breonna Taylor’s murderers walk free.”
i was arrested today for essentially cyber bullying the police while Breonna Taylor’s murderers walk free
— you don’t know me (@forwearenothing) June 25, 2020
While the case of Breonna Taylor referenced in the tweet is a controversial subject with regard to the discourse ongoing throughout the country, the existence of a perceived injustice doesn’t somehow mean that other arrests for alleged criminal acts will be disregarded.
Some online are coming to the defense of Hassinger, clamoring about “free speech”, with other users pointing out that not all speech is “free speech.” One user replied to someone coming to Hassinger’s defense saying:
“There’s a difference between free speech and threatening to murder somebody.”
🤔 There’s a difference between free speech and threatening to murder somebody.
— DJ (@NCRCourier2281) June 27, 2020
The same individual who was adamantly defending Hassinger’s social media antics then pivoted to proclaiming that the tweet that led to his arrest was “an obvious joke.” This resulted in another response demonstrating a “what if the shoe was on the other foot” posing:
“dude got arrested for making a threat to murder people. If someone jokingly threatened to kill a black person on Twitter would you hold the same opinion?”
dude got arrested for making a threat to murder people. If someone jokingly threatened to kill a black person on Twitter would you hold the same opinion?
— DJ (@NCRCourier2281) June 27, 2020
Even Hassinger is trying to claim that his online post was nothing but satirical. In a post he put up the day following his arrest, he was criticizing the media coverage that he was getting over his online threats:
“’threatening’ and ‘disturbing’ are the key adjectives they are using to describe my satirical tweet but while we’re here what about the disturbing and actually threatening atrocities that the police have committed not only recently but for countless years before internet exposure.”
“threatening” and “disturbing” are the key adjectives they are using to describe my satirical tweet but while we’re here what about the disturbing and actually threatening atrocities that the police have committed not only recently but for countless years before internet exposure pic.twitter.com/5iIHJ7JK9B
— you don’t know me (@forwearenothing) June 25, 2020
The fact of the matter is, whether Hassinger’s online post was an attempt at satire or not, it was clearly a post vying for attention (as every social media post is exactly that). In response, Hassinger certainly got himself quite a bit of attention, but it was perhaps not the kind he was hoping to receive.
Furthermore, it is hard to digest Hassinger’s online activity as just “satire” as in a previous post he stated “I wanna body slam and break every one of these cops ribcages” when sharing a video of an arrest enacted where officers detained a suspect.
It is unclear what will come of the case and the time that Hassinger could be facing with regard to the incident that led to his arrest at this time. However, it brings to light a solid point to consider to genuinely think before you hit “post.”
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