Police at the University of Iowa are investigating the beating of a Black student by a group of white men as a hate crime. Campus police made the announcement about the investigation May 4.
ABC 7 reports Marcus Owens is a freshman at the college and he was leaving a pub off campus April 30. While the 19-year-old was texting a friend, three white men yelled “n—–” at him and threw punches. The men stopped and ran away when someone yelled at them. Owens was left on the ground, his front teeth knocked out, eye socket damaged and lip cut open. The student was treated for his injuries at the school hospital. Nearly a dozen stitches were used to close his lip wound.
The university posted messages to the Hawkeye community on their Twitter page. They say they are working closely with law enforcement on the matter. School officials also released a statement May 3 saying they are “saddened and outraged” by the event.
— University of Iowa (@uiowa) May 4, 2016
Owens’ family is by his side as the business student recovers on campus. His uncle, Darrell Owens, tells the local ABC affiliate he looks at his nephew as a son. He is stunned that the Naperville, Illinois native was targeted.
“He’s a fun kid, he’s happy, he’s a good student. He’s well liked. I’ve heard people say if you don’t like Marcus, something is wrong with you,” said Darrell Owens.
As police work on the report filed by the family, Marcus Owens says he doesn’t believe his aggressors were university students. The statement describes the attackers as being 19 to 22-year-old white men of about average height.
According to Darrell Owens, his nephew is in good spirits in spite of the beating. The victim’s uncle is still trying to make sense of the matter, however.
“This isn’t a young man who’s seeking a thug lifestyle. This is a young man who’s seeking higher education. He’s on campus,” he said to ABC 7.
Marcus Owens’ family says he has no plans to transfer from the school.