Beating of homeless man being treated as a hate crime

BRADENTON, Fla. - A video of a homeless, disabled man being beaten at a Bradenton skate park surfaced on Facebook, and now Bradenton police say they're treating the case as a hate crime.

Police say it happened in early November.

ABC Action News I-Team Investigators were the only ones to obtain the graphic video of the beating caught on tape. The man in the video is a 22-year-old black man who's homeless and whose relatives say suffers from schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder.  ABC Action News is not showing all of the video due to its graphic nature.

The alleged attacker was Devin Wilson, 19. Police say Christopher Lovell, 20, recorded the attack and posted it to Facebook, prompting the investigation. A third man, Rubier Zaldivar, 20, has also been charged in the attack. Police say a video clip shows his phone was also recording the attack, which is filled with racial slurs.

There's also strong evidence that the victim is unaware of the severity of the beating. In five minutes, the victim was punched 53 times, kicked 15 times, spit on and threatened.

Race, homelessness and disability can all be used as the basis for charging a suspect with a hate crime. All three suspects remain in jail and could face up to life in prison if convicted.

 

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