Beaten Brainerd Man Talks About Racially-Motivated Attack
BRAINERD, Minn. (WCCO) — Two men are in jail are accused of beating a man outside a Brainerd bar.
Police say 29-year-old Travis Campbell and 27-year-old Lucas Eastwood targeted Willie Navy last weekend because he is black.
Campbell and Eastwood face several charges including assault motivated by bias.
“I’ll never be the same,” said Willie, the victim of a racially-motivated attack.
He said he will never forget last Saturday’s attack. Every time Willie looks in the mirror, he said he’ll relive hearing the racial slur followed by a sharp pain on the head.
“When I fell, I was knocked out. So they had free shots at me and they took them,” he said.
“You’re using boots on a human head, that’s a little bit past first-degree assault. You’re trying to kill him,” said Pastor Robert Navy, the victim’s brother.
As he healed in the hospital, Willie would learn from investigators that not only was he jumped because of his skin color but the bartender at Yesterday’s Gone bar knew Willie was being targeted.
The criminal complaint said that Eastwood mentioned twice that he wanted to fight the black guy.
“That’s why I feel betrayed. They could have helped me, but they didn’t,” said Willie.
The workers at Yesterday’s never dealt the actual punches, but Willie argued they may as well have.
“I’m more upset at them than the person that did it to me,” he said.
The attack may cost Willie vision in one eye. Healing will take months, even years, and there will always be scars you can’t see.
“Here we are in 2011. We have a black president. Ain’t nothing changed at all,” he said.
Willie’s family said Brainerd is a good, safe town and racism can happen anywhere.
Workers at Yesterday’s Gone bar said the bar does not condone racism or fighting of any kind.