Marine Says He Was Beaten and Robbed by Teens Who Asked Him If ‘Black Lives Matter’ as He Ate in McDonald’s
James Wilkinson, Daily Mail, February 17, 2016
An Iraq war veteran whose bravery inspired two statues says he was beaten by a group of teens in Washington, DC, on Friday night after they approached and asked him whether ‘black lives matter’.
Chris Marquez, 30, a decorated US Marine veteran, was eating in a McDonald’s when the youths walked up and started questioning him, WJLA reported.
‘I felt threatened and thought they were trying to intimidate me, so I figured I’m just going to keep to my food, eat my food and hopefully they’ll leave me alone,’ Marquez told the station.
The youths started calling him a racist, he said, but it was when he tried to leave the restaurant that things went badly for him.
The marine, who had survived ambushes in Fallujah at the height of the Iraq War, was taken unaware again–and this time he was unarmed and without backup.
One of the teens hit him in the head him from behind, knocking him to the floor, where the gang beat him savagely before robbing him. Marquez told police that one youth hit him in the head with a handgun.
‘As soon as I walked out of the McDonald’s I got hit in the back of the head, or the side of the head,’ he told WJLA. ‘I just dropped to the ground, and [the McDonald’s manager] says I looked unconscious.’
The veteran believes that the attack was a hate crime, and that he was targeted because he was white.
‘I believe this was a hate crime and I was targeted because of my skin color,’ he told The Daily Caller.
‘Too many of these types of attacks have been happening against white people by members of the black community and the majority of the main stream media refuses to report on it.’
Marquez was taken to George Washington Hospital where he was evaluated for several hours and treated for head trauma and an eye contusion. He was left with bruises and cuts to his face, and says that he’s had trouble sleeping since the event due to a sharp pain that he often feels in his head.
That wasn’t the only indignity the veteran suffered: when he awoke on the sidewalk outside McDonald’s, he found his pants ripped and his wallet–containing $400 in cash, three credit cards and his Veterans Affairs medical card, among other things–missing.
The youths used the cards that night to the tune of $115, and Marquez hopes that the trail will help police catch them.
The veteran seemed troubled by the teens’ accusations of racism, telling The Daily Caller, ‘When I was in the Marine Corps, I served with people from many different backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, and races. Like all Marines, I fought for the freedom of all Americans and not just one particular group.’
Marquez served eight years on active duty in the Marines as a rifleman and scout sniper from 2003-2011, and was awarded a Bronze Star for valor on his first deployment for carrying his commander’s body out of combat after he was killed in an ambush, according to The Daily Caller.
During his time in the Corps he was deployed to Iraq three times and Afghanistan once.
But he was best known for a photograph showing him and a fellow Marine carrying a wounded sergeant out of a house in Fallujah, after a firefight that became known as ‘The House of Hell’ in Marine Corps lore.
That photograph in turn inspired two statues named No Man Left Behind, which are currently on display at Camp Pendleton in San Diego and Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
After leaving the Corps, Marquez worked as a defense contractor for the State Department, which deployed him again to Afghanistan. His LinkedIn profile says this lasted for nine months in 2012.
He joined Santiago Canyon College the following year, getting an Associate of Arts in Communication Studies in 2014. He is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations & Strategic Communication at American University.
His LinkedIn profile says that he worked as an intern at Warner Brothers Entertainment in Burbank, California, for three months in 2013, then spent five months as an intern with the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs in 2015.
His last listed job was as a legislative fellow at the US House of Representatives from September 2015 to last month.
Politics seems to have been a goal of Marquez’s civilian life. In 2014 he ran as a Democratic candidate for Congress, hoping to represent the 42nd Congressional District of California, according to BallotPedia.
In a YouTube video he described himself as believing in ‘fiscal conservative and social libertarian policies’ and said that a personal issue for him was ‘fixing the Department of Veterans’ Affairs’
His BallotPedia page says that he was in favor of reforming ‘draconian’ drug laws, investing in renewable energy and ‘providing a clear path towards citizenship for law abiding undocumented immigrants.’
It adds that he objected to the Affordable Care Act, which he accused of causing Americans to lose insurance policies and ‘forcing’ institutions to act against their ‘core beliefs’.
He came in third place with 11% of the vote, behind Democrat Tim Sheridan with 15.8% and Republican Ken Calvert, who took home 67.5%.
Speaking to The Washington Post, DC police chief spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said that detectives were reviewing surveillance footage but that it was not immediately clear what it showed.
‘It’s an active investigation, and in this case, as in any other, we’re going to investigate it to the fullest,’ he said.