An 18-year-old Michigan man has been charged in a brutal assault in a Flint, Michigan Macy's department store that went viral on Twitter.
Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton announced on Thursday that Damire Canell Palmer has been charged with intent to do great bodily harm, a charge that could lead to ten years in prison.
Palmer can be seen brutally beating a 50-year-old Macy's employee in a viral video that was amplified by race activist Tariq Nasheed
"A man at a store in Flint allegedly referred to a Black man in the store as a 'n***er' while talking on the phone. The Black man overheard him, then things went left," Nasheed tweeted:
An investigation into the allegation that employee used the "N-word" revealed that he had not.
The Detroit News reports that "In surveillance video obtained from Macy’s by Flint Township Police, Palmer is allegedly seen walking around the store. He then approaches and sucker punches the manager in the head from behind knocking him to the floor, according to authorities."
“This was an unprovoked attack on a Macy’s employee. This behavior, as seen on the video, is unacceptable, it is criminal and it cannot be allowed. We don’t believe any racial slur was made by the store manager, and even if there had been, it does not condone nor justify the assault by Mr. Palmer,” Leyton said.
Leyton went on to say that his office would not be charging Palmer with a hate crime.“I know a lot of people are calling this a hate crime but, under the laws of Michigan, the evidence simply does not support that charge,” he said.
Earlier in the week, President Trump tweeted the video, demanding answers.
“This is a horrific hate crime and if the races were reversed it would be the only thing we talk about for days,” Trump said on Tuesday.
Palmer is not yet in custody and is being sought by police.