Man Comes Forward as Victim in Videotaped Beating at EpiCentre During Protests

Mark Price, Charlotte Observer, September 30, 2016

A 24-year-old Charlotte financial services worker has come forward as the man who was beaten, kicked and stripped of his pants last week by a group of 10 attackers during Charlotte’s violent uptown protests Sept. 21.

Mitchell Barnes says he suffered a broken jaw in the attack, which he said occurred about 10:15 p.m. in the EpiCentre garage at 210 E. Trade Street.

{snip} Video of the attack posted on the Internet received international coverage and condemnation. One arrest has been made and a police report says a second suspect is being sought.

Reports surfaced late Thursday that another Charlotte man was beaten on the street outside the EpiCentre around the same time: Army veteran David Palmer, 27. Police did not return messages asking for confirmation of a second attack, which family members say left Palmer in need of surgery for broken bones in his face. A fund raising account has been set up to raise money for medical bills.

Mitchell Barnes told the Observer Friday that he lives in uptown and came out Tuesday night to watch the marchers and show support for their cause. {snip}


Barnes says the attack in the garage started when someone hit him in the back of the head. Over the next few minutes, he says he was chased, punched, kicked and stripped of his pants. In addition to a broken jaw, he says he suffered a concussion.

“I didn’t see who hit me first. It was unprovoked,” said Barnes, struggling to speak clearly with his jaw wired shut. “I was knocked to one knee and took some big shots. I was just trying to plead my way out of it.”


“I thought (the march) was a pivotal moment for the community and I wanted to see it for myself,” says Barnes, a Florida native who has lived in Charlotte about 18 months.

He said he was surprised to learn a video of the attack had gotten international attention, and he believes that is unfortunate. “I think coverage of the video distracted from what I really feel is an important cause. I think most people were there in a united front against something, and I just happened to run into a bad group among all those people.”


Investigators have so far arrested one suspect: Antonio Gatewood, 22. He is charged with common law robbery, assault inflicting serious bodily injury, false imprisonment and ethnic intimidation.

“If I had a chance to ask them (the attackers) a question, it would be: Why were you there? Because it was a demonstration for a conversation that needs to happen in this country. If you think it’s an excuse to act without rules, then you are part of the problem.”


Palmer is out of work now and will be undergoing surgery on Monday, Warlick said. He has a fractured eye socket and multiple broken bones in his face, she said.



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