Brian Ogle is in an Alabama hospital in critical condition after a group of black teens allegedly delivered a beating that police say may have been racially motivated — and one that the victim’s mother is calling a hate crime.
The 17-year-old high school student was reportedly beaten on Friday after his school’s homecoming football game. Ogle, who is white, was with a large group of people in the parking lot of an Ace Hardware store when one or more black teens attacked him, WALB reported.
Police arrived and found Ogle bleeding from his head, the report noted, and the teen was taken to Coosa Valley Medical Center where he was listed in critical condition. Brian’s mother said he suffered a fractured skull and had bleeding on his brain.
Police respond to a fight at Sylacauga HS. Chief says a senior athlete fought a witness to the Brian Olge beating. It was planned & recorded pic.twitter.com/TPK4oaLrKA— Venton Blandin (@VentonBlandinTV) October 3, 2016
While the exact circumstances of Brian Ogle’s beating are not entirely clear, some witnesses said there was a racial motivation for his attack. Witnesses reportedly told police that Ogle had been involved in an incident in school that week, and Sylacauga Police Chief Kelley Johnson said a Facebook post about Black Lives Matter may have played a role in the attack.
“Johnson says witnesses are telling police there was an incident at Sylacauga High School last week involving the victim and some of the persons of interest,” WALB reported. “He says there may have been a verbal exchange or a social media post about the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, which may have sparked Friday night’s assault.”
The victim’s mother is now calling the assault a hate crime. Brandi Allen said she believes her son became a target for attack after he vocally supported police following a spate of recent high-profile shootings, ABC 33/40 News reported. Allen said her son posted some pro-police comments on Facebook.
Allen said it took her son two days after the beating to begin to regain consciousness, and it was not until Sunday that he recognized his own mother. Though he showed signs of progress, things are still very touch and go for Brian, she said.
“Not knowing if my son is going to make it to his 18th birthday this month, I don’t know if anybody can understand what that feels like,” Allen said.
Allen said she wants to see justice for her son — including hate crime charges against the people who attacked him.
“I want to see them in jail, this most certainly is a race issue, it’s a hate crime.” Allen said.
Brian Ogle had reportedly been getting threats at his school after making the Facebook post, his mother said. But despite Ogle bringing evidence to his school, they reportedly did nothing to stop it or to protect the 17-year-old, his mother added.
“My son took [evidence of threats] to the principal at Sylacauga High School and I commend him for that,” she said. “He showed her the threats that were being made to him, but she told him there was nothing she could do. I’m appalled.”
Police said they have at least one person of interest in Ogle’s beating, but also told ABC 33/40 News that there is no evidence that the Black Lives Matter organization — or anyone from it — may have played a role.
Ogle’s story seems to have struck a chord nationwide, with many pro-police groups supporting him and some even putting together an online fundraiser to pay for his medical bills.
The beating of Brian Ogle also comes after a recent series of high-profile police shootings of black men, including the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, last week. Family members said that Scott was unarmed and waiting to pick up his child from the school bus, though police say he was holding a gun at the time he was shot.
Anyone with information on the beating of Brian Ogle is asked to call the Sylacauga Police Department at (256) 401-2450.
[Featured Image by Brandi Allen]