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New Haven assault being investigated as a hate crime

The victim sustained serious facial injuries that required surgery this week.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Police in New Haven are investigating an assault last weekend as a potential hate crime because the victim told police a group of white men yelled racial slurs at him before beating him up on a York Street sidewalk.

Police say based on the video they've seen two groups of people bumped into each other on a sidewalk, which set this confrontation into motion.

Just after midnight, as Friday turned into Saturday, on the sidewalk outside Yale's Davenport College, the encounter, which escalated quickly, lasted about a minute.

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"Beside the serious assault, there were some racial slurs," said Chief Karl Jacobson. "So, this may be hate and bias, a hate crime. We are handling it like it is."

The victim, referred to in a Go Fund Me page set up by his girlfriend as Franklin, sustained serious facial injuries that required surgery this week. He told police a group of white men is responsible.

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"We do have some video that was provided by Yale and some video that was provided by a civilian," said Assistant Police Chief Bertram Ettienne. "At this point we can't make any identifications through the video. The people in the video, it's at a distance."

One witness told FOX61 off camera that Yale students, not those who attacked the victim, were harassing him as he was lying on the ground bleeding, this freshman is concerned.

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"It's pretty scary. I am obviously new to New Haven and new to Yale and my school most of my classes happen just a few buildings down from here," said Maya Shed, a Yale first-year.

 And while troubling, she's not surprised.

 "I mean New Haven and the Yale community isn't that much different than the rest of America in terms of race relations," Shed said.

 In response to the attack, the Yale University Police Department is stepping up patrols campus-wide.

 "You will see more of us on foot, particularly during the weekends and I would also encourage you to stay together," said Chief Anthony Campbell of the Yale University Police Department.

The victim and his girlfriend have declined an interview, for now, to focus on his healing. However, they say they greatly appreciate folks contributing to Go Fund Me, which has reeled in over $11,000 in 3 days. 

Tony Terzi is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at tterzi@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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