Saturday, September 26, 2009

Two Minneapolis men arrested for racially motivated attack on disabled man

From KSTP-TV in Minnesota:

Police say two Minneapolis men wanted for a racially-motivated attack on a disabled man were caught as they were about to attack a second man.

Friday, Hennepin County prosecutors filed multiple charges against Anthony Peter Kilpela and Bryan Charles Westerlund, both 21, in the attack on Derrick Thomas (pictured).

According to the criminal complaint, the attack happened at 1 a.m. Wednesday near the intersection of 73rd Avenue N and Douglas Drive in Brooklyn Park.

Thomas told police men pushed him off his bike, threatened him with an ax, forced him to remove his clothes, punched him and robbed him. Thomas said the men repeatedly used a racial slur and said "they hated black people and that they would beat up any black people who walk through the nearby park."

Thomas functions at the level of a person who is between the ages of 8 and 10 according to the criminal complaint.

A neighbor gave a description of the car used by the attackers to police.

An officer investigating Thomas's report spotted a vehicle that matched the description about four blocks away. The criminal complaint states that the officer saw three white men approaching a black man.

That man told police the group of men used a racial slur. He said one man punched him and another swung an ax at him.

Police arrested Westerlund at the scene of the second attack.

With the help of a police dog, officers found Kilpela hiding in a backyard.

Each man is charged with aggravated robbery, assault, attempted aggravated robbery and attempted assault. The aggravated robbery charge carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison and a $35,000 fine.

The complaint does not mention whether officers are still looking for the third man seen by the officer.

A woman who was in the car with Kilpela and Westerlund was not charged.