University of Iowa, police investigate reported racist attack

Reuters News
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Posted: May 04, 2016 4:19 AM

(Reuters) - The University of Iowa and police said on Wednesday they are investigating as a hate crime a report that a black student was beaten by a group of white men in a racially motivated attack.

Marcus Owens, a 19-year-old freshman from Naperville, Illinois, was beaten after he left a bar on Saturday night by three white men who yelled racial abuse at him, according to an ABC television affiliate in Chicago.

The attack left Owens with a damaged eye socket. He also had his front teeth knocked out and needed about a dozen stitches to close a cut on his lip, ABC-7 in Chicago said.

An individual came to the Iowa City police department late Monday to report that he had been assaulted, police said in a statement. Police declined to identify the victim and suspects, saying they do not release the identities of victims and citing pending charges against the suspects.

The victim told the police that on late Saturday, an individual struck him multiple times in an alleyway and then he was struck several more times by other people while being called racial slurs, the statement said.

The victim later was treated for non-life threatening injuries at a university hospital, the statement said. Owens was released from the hospital on Monday, the station reported.

The suspects were described as three white males, about 19 to 22 years old, and of average height, the statement said.

The university was "deeply disturbed" and was seeking more details of the attack, officials said in Twitter posts after being contacted by the broadcaster.

Owens had just left an off-campus bar when three men approached and began punching him, his uncle Darrell Owens told the news station.

"This is 2016. You shouldn't expect this to happen," he said.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee and Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; editing by John Stonestreet, Bernard Orr)