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Teen Says He Beat Up White Man Because of Trayvon Martin Shooting

Anger over the Trayvon Martin shooting has been palpable over the past couple months. On April 17, that anger reportedly led to violent action in Oak Park.

Police arrested 18-year-old Alton L. Hayes after he and a 15-year-old boy allegedly assaulted a 19-year-old white male out of anger over the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Hayes has been charged with a hate crime, aggravated battery, and attempted robbery, the Chicago Tribune reports.

At around 1 a.m. on April 17, Hayes and the 15-year-old followed a 19-year-old man on North Kenilworth Avenue, according to police. Hayes reportedly grabbed the man from behind, pressed him up against a tree, and hit him multiple times in the head and shoulders. The 15-year-old reportedly held a tree branch to the man and demanded that he hand over his possessions. Hayes then allegedly reached into the victim’s pockets.

Police apprehended the alleged assailants a few blocks away. “During the course of the investigation, we learned that the crime was related to the victim’s race,” Oak Park Police Commander LaDon Reynolds said. According to police, both suspects are black and the victim is white. Hayes told investigators that he was upset about the Martin shooting and singled the victim out because of his race, state’s attorney spokesman Andy Conklin said recently.

Under Illinois’ hate crime law, a person may be charged with a hate crime when he commits assault, battery, aggravated assault, criminal trespass to residence, or several other crimes based on the victim’s actual or perceived race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin. Hayes is accused of committing aggravated battery by reason of his victim’s race. A hate crime is a Class 4 felony for a first offense and a Class 2 felony for any subsequent offenses.

Alton L. Hayes is currently being held on $80,000 bail for the Trayvon Martin-inspired attack. His 15-year-old alleged accomplice has been charged with attempted robbery.

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