78-year old Dallas Watts says he was walking home around 4:45 p.m. on Saturday in Toledo, Ohio when a group of six youths, both white and black, nearly beat him to death for the color of his skin.
Watts said he heard one of the group say, “take him down!,” and then, “the next thing I knew, I was sucker punched from the back,” he said. At one point, he was allegedly lifted up by one then “drop kicked” by another, before someone put his foot on Watts’ neck and said “kill him.”
Watts says he appealed to Trayvon Martin’s memory, saying: “Why me? Remember Trayvon! Remember Trayvon!” The group’s response was reportedly along the lines of: “This is for Trayvon … Trayvon lives, white [man]. Kill that white [man].”
Fox Toledo continues:
For the next four minutes, the group of juveniles punched and kicked Watts, until he nearly passed out. Two customers at the nearby gas station stepped in to help.
“All I could hear before I passed out, [one of the group said] ‘Don’t kill him, or we all go to jail,'” Watts recalled. “If [the customers] had not gotten involved, he would have killed me.”
“I meant [the reference to Trayvon Martin] in a peaceful way,” he continued. “What happened to Trayvon, I was not responsible for, I live 1,000 miles away! But they kept saying, ‘Kill him! Kill Him! Kill him!’ because I’m a white man.”
Investigators are unsure how Watts’ reference to Trayvon Martin was interpreted, saying it could have been seen as threatening or racist. However, Watts maintains, “All I meant by saying ‘remember Trayvon’ is to remember what happened to him, don’t duplicate it here.”
At the time of the attack, Watts had his wallet, credit card, house keys, and pork rinds (he was walking back from the gas station), but the only thing the alleged attackers took was the pork rinds. Watts believes, then, that the goal of the beating wasn’t money, but hate.
Toledo police Sgt. Phil Toney said: “I have heard that there were some comments made, some racial comments made, but that we’re still investigating…We can’t really confirm that one way or the other at this point. We still have not talked with Mr. Watts yet. We’re going to be talking to him a little bit later.”
Watts has already contacted a lawyer to file hate crime charges with the U.S. Attorney General.
“You don’t pick somebody’s body up off the sidewalk and let somebody else give him a lick to kick the ribs,” he said. “That was malicious intent. That was a hate crime and I want them punished for it!”
Three of the six youths involved in the attack have been arrested and charged, two with robbery, and the third with disorderly conduct.