A white, 18-year-old driver in Minnesota was reportedly beaten by 10 people after he allegedly ran over a 4-year-old black child, the Daily Mail reports.
The teen, identified only as “Ryan,” reportedly was known for flying a Confederate flag from his pickup truck before the flag was burned by neighborhood kids last month, WKOW reports.
One witness, Tamara Witherspoon, said that tensions probably flared because of Ryan’s notoriety for flying the flag.
“They probably wouldn’t have jumped on him if he hadn’t been, you know, provoking people around here,” she said.
Damajae Winn, 4, of Winona, Minn., was taken to the hospital for his injuries. He is expected to survive. Damajae’s mother said that he has a neck brace and some cuts and bruises to his face but is currently out of the hospital.
Brook Schrumphf, 13, who identified herself to WDAZ as Ryan’s girlfriend, said that it was an accident. Brook said Ryan had gotten out of his truck to check on Damajae when he was assaulted by a group of people.
“All of a sudden, this kid ran out in front of us and he hit the bumper. I swear they came out of nowhere. I didn’t see any of them, and they were there in, like, two seconds,” Brook told WDAZ.
“His mom kept screaming at me,” the 13-year-old told CBS Minnesota. “‘You’re a racist b——,’ and just yelling at me, and all these guys were coming at Ryan and hitting him.
“We didn’t see him until after the fact,” Brook said of the 4-year-old. “We didn’t see him until he was lying on the ground. He’s like, ‘I’m pretty sure I just hit a kid.’ I’m like, ‘Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop.’”
WDAZ reports that Damajae had gone into traffic and was not within a crosswalk when he was hit.
Ryan suffered minor injuries, including swelling and some bruises to his face in the alleged assault, according to CBS Minnesota, but he told the station that he was doing OK.
As for the Confederate flag controversy, Brook said it’s not about race.
“To us that’s just a battle flag; it has nothing to do with racism,” she said. “I don’t even have words to explain the anger I have towards everybody right now.”