Heather Walker, WOOD (Grand Rapids), August 4, 2015
The video released by the Grand Rapids Police Department showed a group of people stomping and punching a man near Rosa Parks Circle in the area of Monroe Avenue and Louis Street. Police say the assault happened around 10:15 p.m. on July 28.
As of Tuesday evening, the video had been viewed more than half a million times. And in fewer than 24 hours, police said, they were able to identify several people involved in the assault thanks to tips.
“It almost appears like a game,” GRPD Capt. Matt Ostapowicz told 24 Hour News 8. “The one guy for whatever reason says, ‘Somebody hit him,’ and they did and everybody went crazy.”
Ostapowicz said the victim told police he didn’t know anyone in the group and had not had prior contact with them.
The victim, a 18-year-old white man, can be seen in the video walking by a group of black males and some females when one of the males in the group yells for someone to “sock” the victim.
“It turns into that mob mentality,” Ostapowicz said. “He (the 18-year-old male) gets sucker punched, knocked down and, as you can see, several people start stomping on all different parts of his body. We’re very fortunate he didn’t get hurt worse than he was.”
Tuesday, police said they are not calling the assault a hate crime. They said they will leave that determination to the prosecutor’s office.