Ray Chandler, Independent Mail, March 28, 2012
Six men have been charged with beating a North Carolina man and police say they are referring the case to federal authorities to see if the men might be charged with hate crimes. Seneca Police Chief John Covington said the investigation indicated that race was a factor in the attack, so the case file would be transferred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The men who have been charged are black. The man who was beaten is white.
The six men are charged with assault and battery by mob. They are Teryn L. Robinson, 18, Tray Devon Holland, 19, Justin Dimon Alexander, 20, Derick Lee Williams, 22, Kino Martinez Jones, 25, and Montrez Obrian Jones, 22.
The arrests followed an investigation that began March 17, when Seneca police officers arrived about 12:50 a.m. at the parking lot of Applebee’s at 696 By Pass 123 in response to reports of a man being beaten.
They found Terry Moore, 32, of Macon County, N.C., lying in the parking lot. He was taken to Oconee Medical Center.
According to a statement given later by Moore, he had been fishing with friends in Oconee County all day on March 16 and the group capped the day by going to the Applebee’s.
As the group left, Moore said, he went to the restroom while his companions went to their vehicles. When he went into the parking lot, Moore said, he was taunted by members of a group of 15 to 20 blacks who called him names such as “tree honky” and “cracker”.
One of the group hit him, Moore said, and as he reached for the alleged assailant, “everything went black.”
According to one of Moore’s companions, one of the assailants used a stun gun on Moore.
Moore said that he recalled being on the ground surrounded by feet and being beaten. According to one of Moore’s companions, one of those around Moore appeared to try to protect Moore’s head from injury.
According to Covington, none of the suspects knew Moore.