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Hate Crime? Police Investigating if Brutal Beating of White Man Was Race-Related

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"His pants were off and his shirt torn."

(Photo via WCCO-TV)

A 26-year-old Minnesota man was out for a walk in St. Paul, Minnesota late Sunday when, according to police, a group of people unexpectedly attacked him, knocking him to the ground and repeatedly kicking him until he was in such terrible condition that he had to be hospitalized with severe brain swelling.

When Raymond Widstrand was discovered, local CBS affiliate WCCO reports, "his pants were off and his shirt torn." His arms and legs were "spread out," and he was bleeding profusely.

(Photo via WCCO-TV)

The Star Tribune editorial board writes: "Authorities are investigating what role race played in the attack: Widstrand is white, and those arrested for attacking him are black. Police reports say that two groups of black youths, some believed to be gang members, were fighting each other, then turned on Widstrand as he walked by."'

One witness said the first person to attack Widstrand hit him with a can in a sock, and then the mob took over.

(Photo via WCCO-TV)

Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Paulos said three juvenile suspects have been arrested, and 19-year-old Issac Maiden was charged in Ramsey County District Court with two counts of gang-related crimes for the beating, in addition to one count each of first-degree assault and first-degree aggravated robbery.

“This will not be tolerated by the St. Paul police nor the city of St. Paul,” he declared. “He should be able to walk with freedom, with peace.”

There have been few updates on Widstrand's condition, but doctors said early on that if the young man survives, he will likely suffer "permanent and protracted"  loss of brain function.

“I can’t imagine why someone would do this to another person,” his father, Peter Widstrand, said with emotion.

More on the horrific story from WCCO-TV:

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