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Beaten, Robbed, a Victim of Hate: Charges say white assailants hurled racial epithets as they attacked two black men in Brooklyn Park

Posted by Audiegrl

Derrick Thomas showed the bruises and cuts inflicted this week in Brooklyn Park in a beating that authorities are treating as a hate crime. A neighbor called 911, and police arrested two suspects as they committed a second assault nearby.

Derrick Thomas showed the bruises and cuts inflicted this week in Brooklyn Park in a beating that authorities are treating as a hate crime. A neighbor called 911, and police arrested two suspects as they committed a second assault nearby.


Minnesota Star Tribune/ Paul Walsh & Abby Simons—Derrick Thomas was on his bike with home in his sights, returning about 1 a.m. Wednesday from hanging out with his girlfriend and cousin in Brooklyn Park.

Before he knew to be terrified, Thomas, who has autism, found himself flying over his handlebars and writhing on his back on the concrete. Standing over him, he said, were three men armed with an ax, brass knuckles and a gun.

They beat and kicked the 18-year-old while screaming a racial epithet, and they ordered him to strip naked, he told police. Then they robbed him of everything he had, including his Air Jordans, blue jeans and shirt. Police said Thomas has a mental capacity of someone 8 to 10 years old.

“They were saying stuff like, ‘We hate the president; we’re gonna kill the president, his wife and his kids,'” Thomas recalled from his front stoop Friday, his left eye puffy and discolored. “They said every black person that comes through our park, we’re gonna kick their butt. We don’t like black people, period.”

Bryan Westerlund

Bryan Westerlund


The assault, and another on a second black man — Thomas’ uncle — just blocks away, led authorities Friday to file assault and robbery charges against Anthony P. Kilpela and Bryan C. Westerlund, both 21 and both white, of Minneapolis.
“We’re incensed,” said an angry Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, who took the unusual step of calling a news conference about the charges from his living room while he was home ill.
Anthony Kilpela

Anthony Kilpela


“We will send the message that these kinds of hate crimes are not to be tolerated,” Freeman continued. “You do the racial thing, you’re gonna do more time, and we’ve asked for more time.”

The alleged comments about the Obamas drew the attention of the Secret Service, whose agents interviewed Thomas on Friday, according to his family.

“We will appropriately investigate, as we do all threats against the president,” said John Kirkwood, special agent in charge of the Secret Service’s Minneapolis field office. Such threats, Kirkwood said, are felonies.

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