A 50-year-old cyclist says he is traumatized after he reportedly was brutally beaten by a neighbor just a few blocks from his home in a Houston suburb. The injured man believes the incident was racially motivated.
Elliot Reed, who rides his bike around every morning, told KTRK that he came in contact with a driver on Friday, Oct. 29, while at the intersection of Lakeside Drive and Hampton Strings Drive in Seabrook, Texas. The man behind the wheel reportedly told Reed that he didn’t belong in the neighborhood and began antagonizing him.
“He’s just looking at me at the stop sign. He said, ‘You need to get out of this neighborhood because you’re making a lot of people nervous,'” Reed explained. “He said I need to get off this neighborhood. He said, ‘You don’t live here, and if I catch you, I’m gonna do something to you.’”
Reed said at first he ignored the man, who responded by parking his pickup truck about 50 feet behind Reed and getting out. When Reed took out his cellphone to record the man, who was later identified as Collin Fries, he began calling Reed the N-word. Witnesses told local station Fox26 Fries repeatedly said the offensive word before charging Reed and attacking him.
Police reports say several bystanders confirmed that Fries, who is white, chased the victim from the road to the sidewalk before catching him and punching him. Reed told KTRK that was “the last thing I remember.” That’s because witnesses told authorities that Fries continuously punched Reed, a total of 12 times, even after he fell unconscious.
Reed suffered multiple injuries including a broken tooth, fractured cheekbone, a burst blood vessel in his eye, which he will likely need surgery to repair. In addition, Reed required more than a dozen stitches to his face.
Angie Reed, the victim’s wife, believes her husband “was attacked because he Black.” She added, “I don’t care where you live, you don’t deserve to be disrespected by the color of your skin.” Fries reportedly was arrested and released on a bond of $100 after being charged with misdemeanor aggravated assault, a charge Angie Reed called “insulting and disrespectful.”
However, the district attorney’s office said in a statement that they were “still in the initial stages of the review of this incident” and that it was too soon to determine if this incident was indeed a hate crime. “What happens with regard to whether a charge is increased or a hate crime enhancement is added will depend upon the totality of the evidence,” they added.
Seabrook police chief Sean Wright said this week the incident didn’t appear to be a hate crime, citing previous “conflict” between neighbors, despite Reed’s claim that they had never met Fries.