A former Marine was savagely attacked at a McDonald’s restaurant in Washington, DC, and the incident has sparked outrage for those who believe the heinous act of violence was racially motivated. Christopher Marquez, a 30-year-old veteran of Iraq and recipient of the Bronze Star for valor, was beaten unconscious by a group of teenagers while he was eating in a back corner of the restaurant last Friday night.
According to a report from the Washington Post, Marquez said in an interview that the attack occurred after several black youths asked him whether “black lives matter” and then called him racist.
“They saw me and crowded around… and they started asking me if I believed black lives matter,” Marquez was quoted as saying. “I was ignoring them, then they started calling me racist.”
Marquez told police in a statement that he believes the attack was racially motivated.
“I believe this was a hate crime and I was targeted because of my skin color,” Marquez said. “Too many of these types of attacks have been happening against white people by members of the black community and the majority of the main stream media refuses to report on it.When I was in the Marine Corps, I served with people from many different backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, and races,” the American University student added. “Like all Marines, I fought for the freedom of all Americans and not just one particular group.”
As of the time of this report, authorities are unable to verify the motive as described by Marquez. However, an official investigation into the incident has been launched. Dustin Sternbeck, the chief D.C. police spokesman, said detectives are reviewing surveillance video of the assault but it was not immediately clear what it shows.
“It’s an active investigation, and in this case, as in any other, we’re going to investigate it to the fullest,” Sternbeck said.
Marquez says he doesn’t remember all of the events leading up to the attack, because he says “the blow to my head really screwed up my memory.”
The Daily Caller wrote that DeAnthony Mason, manager of the McDonald’s, reviewed security footage and told Marquez in a phone call Saturday that when he left the restaurant a teen with a white shirt struck him on the side of the head, knocking him unconscious. The other teens then converged on his incapacitated body, taking his belongings. The head blow Marquez sustained left his memory dazed, but Mason’s review of security footage helped him piece together what occurred.
Washington police are looking for four young people in connection with the attack on Christopher Marquez. Police say the suspects are four black males between 16 to 21 years of age. However, the police report does not include a description of the people involved with the incident. Marquez says the teens took his wallet with credit cards and $400 in cash. Reportedly, one youth also hit him in the face with a handgun.
Marquez was awarded the Bronze Star, and he is one of the two marines who carried the body of his slain team leader, Sergeant Bradley Kasal, from combat following an ambush during the Battle of Fallujah. Marquez served in the Marine Corps from 2003 to 2011 in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Rifleman and Scout Sniper.
[Image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]