A 19-year-old Petaluma resident who claimed he was the victim of a racially motivated beating was arrested after investigators established—and he later admitted—that he had concocted the story, said Lt. Dan Fish of the Petaluma Police Department.
Eric Young originally claimed that at 12:04 a.m. on Sept. 4, he was approached by an 18—to 25-year-old white male who told him he did not belong in the neighborhood and then began shouting several derogatory racial slurs, including the “n-word,” before starting to fight with him. Young reported that two more white males, ages 18 to 25, then joined the other white male in beating him.
Young said that he used a cell phone to call a friend for a ride to Petaluma Valley Hospital, where he was treated. He eventually was transferred to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for surgery due to a major shoulder injury.
Young couldn’t provide details about his assailants or the exact location where the incident took place. Investigators eventually were able to locate friends of Young who were with him earlier in the evening of Sept. 3. They provided vastly different accounts than Young of the alleged incident.
Two witnesses said that Young was extremely intoxicated at the time he suffered his shoulder injury. Investigators found that as he wrestled with a friend in Oak Hill Park, Young rolled over and injured the shoulder. He then was transported to PVH by friends, and conspired with them to falsely report that he was attacked, Fish said.
On Wednesday, Young was interviewed based on the new information uncovered, and admitted fabricating his story.
He was arrested on the felony charge of conspiracy and the misdemeanor charge of false report of a crime. Based on Young’s condition and his accidental injury, he was unable to be housed at the Sonoma County Jail, but he was given a felony citation to appear in court, Fish said.
A 19-year-old black man who said he was called a racist name and beaten by three white men made up the story so he wouldn’t be arrested for underage drinking, Petaluma police said Wednesday.
“The allegation was serious … it didn’t sound like the kind of thing that happens in Petaluma, and the community was upset,” Lt. Danny Fish said.
Officers re-interviewed Eric Young a day later, he said.
They noted discrepancies and vagueness in his account and he had only a shoulder injury, which was inconsistent with a supposed beating administered by three men Sept.-4.
When police confronted Young on Wednesday, Fish said, he confessed he had made up the story.
Young was issued a citation to appear in court on suspicion of conspiracy and making a false report of a crime.