A black man was found brutally beaten in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday, and he identified his assailants as three white men who used racial slurs during the attack. Now, his father and members of the Des Moines NAACP chapter are urging investigators to look into the possibility that a hate crime was committed.
The Des Moines Register reports that 22-year-old DaQuan Jones was headed to his girlfriend’s house when he was attacked at around 3:25 a.m. on Saturday, according to the police report. Tyia Campbell, a witness who said she heard Jones screaming for help while she and her friends were nearby, found Jones lying on the ground.
“He told us [the suspects] were trying to kill him,” Campbell said. “He was bloody. He said he couldn’t breathe and thought he was dying.”
Campbell told the police the suspects were still at the scene when she and her friends arrived and that the men used racial slurs against them as well. She said she heard one of them yell out, “Get out of our area; we’re going to get all of you out of here.”
DaQuan’s father, Daryl Jones, Jr. spoke at a news conference alongside members of the NAACP on Sunday to talk about what happened to his son.
“They broke my son’s face in five places. Five,” he said. “[The suspects] know what they did. I don’t want an uproar, I just want justice.”
On Saturday evening, Des Moines NAACP president Kameron Middlebrooks sent out a press release urging black residents to “look out for each other” and requesting that police not ignore the racist nature of the attack against Jones’ attack and others like it.
“We strongly urge the DMPD and the city’s elected officials to investigate these attacks to bring about equitable outcomes for the victims,” Middlebrooks wrote.
Middlebrooks also spoke at the news conference Sunday, saying: “After speaking with [Da]Quan, his family and the witnesses that have come forward, if the story is as they state it is, then what occurred yesterday should be nothing less than a hate crime.”
Jones was immediately taken to the hospital after police arrived at the scene and found him on the ground. He is expected to make a full recovery from his injuries.