Reporting Rachel Slavik
BRAINERD, Minn. (WCCO) – Two Minnesota men accused of beating a man because he was black are going to prison. But the victim isn’t happy about it.
Travis Campbell and Lucas Eastwood will both serve time for attacking Willie Navy outside a bar in Brainerd last winter. But Navy thinks justice wasn’t served.
“I’ve got to worry about this each and every day that they not getting what they deserve,” he said.
Navy’s face may look like it’s healed in the seven months since his attack outside a Brainerd bar. But the pain is still there — physical and emotional pain.
“I don’t understand. I really don’t and it’s tearing me apart,” Navy said.
The two men responsible for his injuries both made a deal with prosecutors. If they pleaded guilty to the most serious charge, first-degree assault, then the lesser charges would be dropped, including assault motivated by racial bias.
“They should have kept that on there. That’s the one they should have kept because that’s what it was, it was a hate crime towards a black person,” Navy said.
Navy was willing to accept the plea deal as long as there was a truthful statement of what happened at Yesterday’s Gone bar. However, he said, he never got that.
“Plea and tell me that you’re sorry and say what you done to me. I ain’t get none of that,” Navy said.
Mark Mitchell, Campbell’s attorney, said Campbell admits he was wrong.
“It was really a bar fight. He contends that he was really the third man into a bar fight and it got out of hand,” Mitchell said.
Campbell will likely serve two years; Eastwood will likely serve seven years. Navy and his family now feel the potential punishments don’t fit the crime.
“When these people get out of doing their time, I’m still going to deal with this the rest of my life,” said Navy, pointing to his injured eye.
“I’m a pastor so I have to forgive and I’m trying to forgive them because I don’t want to live with something against someone all my life,” said Navy’s brother Robert.
For Navy, forgiveness isn’t as easy, He’s still looking for a resolution that he feels the courts didn’t deliver.
“It’s kinda hard to go on when you know that what was done to you ain’t been done right,” he said.
Prosecutors said this was a good plea deal because it guaranteed prison time for both men. Even though the apology didn’t go far enough for Navy, his attackers did plead guilty. They’ll learn their exact punishments later this fall.