A 32-year-old Marine, who is a veteran of the Iraq War, was viciously assaulted by a group of about 20 people outside of a Mississippi restaurant, after he was warned it wasn't safe for white people in the wake of the Michael Brown shooting in Missouri, his friend claims.
Ralph Weems is in fair condition at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, a hospital spokeswoman said Monday. But his brother-in-law said that Weems had undergone brain surgery, according to the Associated Press.
According to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 22-year-old Courtez McMillian was busted in the beating and other arrests likely are coming soon, police say.
David Knighten, Weems' friend who was with him that night, told The Associated Press that the pair was followed early Saturday morning from a Waffle House in West Point, Miss., because of an argument Weems got in with black customers. Previously, a man outside the Waffle House told Weems that it wasn't safe for white people in the wake of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a white Ferguson, Mo., cop earlier this month, according to Knighten.
When the pair tried to leave the Waffle House and go somewhere else to eat, they were followed by at least 20 black people. When they stopped at a Huddle House on their way to Weems' home, the group attacked them. Knighten said by the time he emerged from the Huddle house restroom, he said Weems was surrounded.
When a security guard asked everyone to leave, Knighten said he was separated from Weems and couldn't reach him. Weems was on the ground being kicked by a group of people, Knighten said.
Knighten suffered broken facial bones and other injuries, he said.
Weems, sustained numerous injuries, and underwent brain surgery, according to his family.
"All my injuries were minor fractures and lacerations," Knighten wrote on Facebook, according to the Clarion-Ledger. "I just wish I could have reached him sooner. Please keep your thoughts and prayers on Ralph."
McMillian, was busted for aggravated assault, the West Point Police Department said. Cops are looking at video surveillance footage from the scene of the crime and have put together a list of other possible suspects.
"This does not appear to be a hate crime," West Point Police Chief Tim Brinkley said in a press release, according to the Clarion-Ledger. "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."
However, Brinkley said that could change as more evidence comes in.
"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," he said. "It's within their discretion to add the hate crime enhancement."
Brinkley also said cops were trying to find out why it seemed to take so long for anyone to call 911 from the Huddle House. He said by the time police were notified, the crowd of perpetrators had left.