Gainesville, Florida, police are investigating what they believe may have been a "racially motivated" attack early Tuesday morning stemming from the nationally covered Trayvon Martin case involving the tragic death of an unarmed 17-year-old.
According to local news affiliates, a 27-year-old Gainesville man was walking home from the bars early Tuesday morning when he said he was jumped by five to eight men who yelled "Trayvon" before the attack. The call before the attack appears to be in reference to the Sandford case that has rocked national headlines, and led to broader societal discussions on crime and race. News4Jax reports:
Gainesville investigators told The Gainesville Sun that they believe Tuesday morning's attack stemmed from the Martin case.
"We do believe that the crime was racially motivated," Gainesville Police Department spokeswoman Cpl. Angelina Valuri said.
Valuri said the victim was white and the attackers were black.
Police said the victim had been drinking, so the only description he had of the attackers or their vehicle was that is was a mid-size vehicle. But Valuri did say that the victim's injuries were consistent with being jumped by a group.
The victim told police that he was beaten for five minutes. He had injuries to his left eye, abrasions to his palms and a cut on his right knee cap. Valuri said he would likely have permanent damage to the left side of his face. He was taken to Shands Gainesville for treatment.
The Gainesville Sun reports that the attack occurred at about 2:45a.m. The victim told police that the group of men got out of a car and told him he was walking too slowly, before yelling 'Trayvon" and attacking.
The Sandford case has attracted national outcry for the case involved the shooting death of an unarmed black teen walking back from a 7-11 with Skittles and an ice tea. The teen's shooter, a half-white, half-Hispanic man, has not yet been arrested and seeking possibly defense under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law.
In addition to the Gainesville attack Tuesday, the Sandford case has led to several instances of what some have called "race-bating," threats of violence, and racially-charged rhetoric by media commentators, groups or individuals in the name of Trayvon Martin.
Members of the New Black Panthers party have emerged and called for vigilante justice and preparation for a "race war"in the name of Martin, despite the wishes of the boy's father. At the other side of the spectrum, the National Socialist Movement (NSM); a neo-nazi group, has reportedly brought armed patrols to Sandford to protect the locals, specifically whites who they claim are “concerned for their safety.”
Florida State Attorney Angela Corey announced Monday that there will be no grand jury in the investigation of the Martin shooting.