Last weekend, a white man in Cold Spring, Minn., reportedly rammed a stolen SUV into an interracial couple’s house in an alleged racially motivated attack. Police say he exited the vehicle in front of the home after placing a large slab of granite on the gas pedal and that there was a teddy bear in a noose hanging inside the car. The couple said the man has been stalking and harassing them for some time.
CBS 4 Minnesota reports Benton Beyer made his first court appearance Tuesday after being charged with felony counts of auto theft, stalking and property damage. Andrea and Phillipe Robinson, the couple that was victimized by Beyer’s alleged racial rampage, which was captured by the Ring camera on their home, said the harassment started months ago after they posted a video to social media about racism in their children’s school and after they put a Black Lives Matter sign in their front yard.
In fact, according to CBS, Andrea already had a restraining order against Beyer on file at the time of the attack, and police have responded to a whopping 18 calls in the last two months related to accusations of him stalking the couple.
“He’s ramped it up,” Phillipe, who is Black, told CBS. “He went from busting out windows to shooting at cameras, to knowing our schedule well enough that he would follow my wife at grocery stores.”
“I’m still in shock,” Andrea, who is white, said of the SUV attack. “I can’t believe this. Every day I just come out here and think it’s a bad dream.”
Phillipe expressed similar distress asking rhetorically, “How do I supposed to feel safe?”
“My wife, my children don’t want to stay here, and I understand,” he continued.
The couple also expressed concern that the local police simply weren’t taking things seriously.
The police say if there’s evidence of a racially-motivated crime, they will seek prosecution to the fullest extent of the law. But the Robinsons have little faith, saying officers quickly gave up chasing Beyer after the crash.
“We were left here with our neighbors with no police protection with a man that essentially tried to kill our family,” Andrea said.
Police say they ended the search because the field he was in was wet and difficult to navigate. Phillipe says Beyer was only caught later thanks to a neighbor turning him in.
This story is eerily similar to the recent reports on Mount Laurel, New Jersey’s Edward Mathews, who is alleged to have been harassing his Black neighbors for years with racial slurs and vandalism of their property. Mathews wasn’t arrested until he was caught on camera doing his white supremacy work and neighbors complained the local police hadn’t done anything about his behavior up until then despite how often they were called to deal with him.
Unfortunately, there’s no crazy-and-racist asshole offender registry to warn people of color when they’re living in close proximity to an unhinged bigot with a propensity for violence.
Anyway, according to CBS, the Robinsons’ online fund has raised over $15,000 for the couple to use to repair the damage to their home and for legal fees.