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‘Couldn’t Have Dreamed of In My Darkest Nightmares’: Food Truck Owner Beaten In Hate Crime Attack Grateful to Social Media Influencer for Mobilizing Followers to Identify Suspect

A Portland food truck owner, randomly beaten by a white man while standing outside of his business and talking to his wife on the phone, is celebrating TikToker Michael McWhorter and his millions of followers for tracking down his attacker.

McWhorter posted the video of the assault on his social media and mobilized his 6 million followers to obtain justice for Darell Preston, the proprietor of LoRell’s Chicken Shack, who was attacked on June 15 in broad daylight.

The video shows the attacker beating and kicking Preston, bloodying his eyes (one completely shut and the other barely open) and breaking his nose, cars rode by and honked their horns — presumably trying to get the man to stop.

Darell Preston and his wife Marshnique Preston and their two children. (Photo: Facebook/Darell Preston)

“I hit you, N-word, stay on the ground!” the man allegedly shouted at his victim, according to his lawyer.

Then after he was done, he calmly walked away.

Preston says while the local police were called and launched an investigation into the attack, it was McWhorter’s network that identified the suspect after he posted it on June 28, which led to the arrest, USA Today reports.

Civil rights attorney Alicia LeDuc Montgomery is representing Preston and believes that the Portland Police Department did not do the best job in supporting her client.

There was confusion around the attack. PPD and EMS originally thought a car had struck a pedestrian. When it was clear that there was an assault, Preston was inside his truck and did not speak to law enforcement about the attack. His lawyer says she believes he was traumatized.

According to Montgomery, the way PPD handled the situation has “room for improvement.”

“He was clearly shook up, and then there wasn’t follow-up for many days, and it sounds like the investigation wasn’t really active for several days after the incident,” she said. “So the concern was, what is going on? Is an investigation even taking place? Why isn’t the family being contacted and followed up with?”

Eventually, an arrest was made on July 2. Cops, responding to a different call, saw him walking and picked him up.

On Tuesday, July 11, a Multnomah County court charged  40-year-old Daniel Thomas Warren with a hate crime and assault. He pleaded not guilty to the attack.

Montgomery said while the police department did put a team on finding the assailant, “we would have liked to have seen all that happen much more quickly.”

In a statement, Sgt. Kevin Allen said he respects the perspective of Preston and his family, acknowledging “they’ve been through a terrible ordeal.”

“We respect their right to discuss any concerns they have, and we humbly consider those concerns as we are constantly seeking to improve our service to the community,” he continued. “That said, I can verify the officer made significant effort to investigate this case from the initial call despite several challenges.”

Warren, who has a criminal record dating back to 2003, is set to go to court in connection with the Preston beating on Aug. 23.

Preston has returned to his food truck despite advice from his friends and family to take it easy, he said.

“What happened to me, I wouldn’t have dreamed of in my darkest nightmares,” Preston wrote on Facebook on July 12. “But what I’ve come to realize and truly believe is that what doesn’t kill you, truly makes you stronger; if not stronger, well at least more determined. Because of this I am more determined to succeed than I have ever been before.”

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