Cleveland police are searching for a man who allegedly assaulted two people on Cleveland's south side Sunday afternoon. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime, the second reported in the city this week.
According to a police report, a 51-year-old woman (who is white) approached a group of people (who were black) on Archwood Ave. she claimed were mostly friends of hers. She told authorities that before she could say hello, a male member of the group (who the woman said she did not know) punched her in the mouth without warning and knocked her to the ground.
The woman said the man then screamed at her, saying she was "in the KKK" and was a "white supremacist." He also claimed she used a racial slur to refer to black people. She later "vehemently denied" those charges to officers.
The victim then ran home to call police and speak with her 21-year-old son, who then went back with her to the scene of the incident. She pointed the suspect out, allowing her son to take a picture of him with his cell phone. This image was later given to law enforcement.
When the suspect saw this, he allegedly approached the two and began throwing punches at the 21-year-old. He knocked the phone out of his hand (causing the screen to break) and again yelled that they were "in the KKK." The mother and son say others in the area then became upset and began threatening the two. The suspect and others then fled the area when the son made a second call to police.
Officials say the alleged assailant is suspected of using alcohol and drugs at the time of the incident. He is described as being between 20 and 30 years old, around 5 feet 10 inched tall, weighing about 180 lbs. with a scruffy beard and mustache. He was also wearing a gray t-shirt, blue jeans, a gold neck chain, and a gold watch during the altercation.
The incident was one of two alleged hate crimes that took place Sunday, after an early-morning assault in the Flats East Bank during which the alleged attacker told the victim to "go back to his country." Anyone with information is asked to call Cleveland police.