A Black community in Iowa is on high alert after a man was reportedly jumped by a group of white men.
DarQuan Jones was walking to his girlfriend’s apartment around 3:25 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, when he was accosted by three white men, according to The Des Moines Register. Jones believes the men were intoxicated.
“When I saw they were stumbling, I already knew something wasn’t going to go right,” he recalled.
Jones said the men assaulted him and at least one of them used racial slurs during the attack. He said he tried to run away, but the men were able to catch up to him before dragging him to a creek and attempting to drown him.
“When they started dragging me to the creek, I thought it was over for me,” Jones said. “The only thing that was in my head was, ‘They’re going to kill me.’ “
The attackers reportedly didn’t let up until Tyia Campbell, a resident at the apartment complex, came outside with her friends after she heard the 22-year-old’s pleas for help.
Campbell told The Des Moines Register the men called her and her friends slurs and told them they “need to get out of our area; we’re going to get all of you out of here.'”
When police arrived, Jones was lying on the ground with severe injuries to his face, eyes and hands. He told investigators he did not know the assailants.
“The victim indicated that he thought it was a case of mistaken identity,” said Des Moines Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Parizek. “Bottom line for us is that he was hurt bad, and we want to find the people responsible. We need to find them before we can determine a motive.”
Daryl Jones, DarQuan’s father, is seeking justice for his son, who ended up with bones fractured in his face, a broken nose and a broken arm.
“They broke my son’s face in five places. Five,” he told reporters on Sunday. “(The suspects) know what they did. I don’t want an uproar, I just want justice.”
The assault also took an emotional toll on Jones, who works for a car parts warehouse.
“I just want to know why this happened to me,” Jones said on Tuesday. “I didn’t do anything wrong to anybody. I’m still traumatized from it happening. I could have been gone.”
Kameron Middlebrooks, president of the Des Moines chapter of the NAACP, shared the slurs that were allegedly used during the incident.
“The young man, who is also an essential worker, was brutally beaten, called a n—-r, called a monkey, and nearly had his life taken,” Middlebrooks said on Sunday, May 17. “If it wasn’t for two witnesses that came to his aid, we would have been sitting here working with the family on funeral arrangements.”
The NAACP chapter would like to see hate crime charges result if authorities determine the motive of the assault as being fueled by racism. The suspects remain at large.
“Our detectives are continuing to investigate this case,” Parizek said. “We do not want to compromise the integrity of the case or tip potential suspects to our progress.