Officials in Des Moines, Iowa, are looking for the persons who police say attacked a Black man as he was leaving his girlfriend's house — an incident the local NAACP chapter wants investigated as a hate crime.
DarQuan Jones, 22, told police he was approached by two white men around 3 a.m. Saturday who asked him who he was.
"It is unclear what prompted them to approach Jones. However, evidence indicates that this was not a random selection of Jones as a victim," Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek told CNN.
The men assaulted Jones, Parizek said. He was able to break free but the men caught up to him and the assault continued, he said.
"During this, Jones reports that one of the attackers hurls racial epithets and threatens to kill him," Parizek said.
Witnesses, who heard the commotion, began to yell — apparently scaring the attackers off, he said.
"I just want to know why it happened to me. It just really breaks my heart because I am not the type of guy to get in trouble," Jones told CNN affiliate KCCI.
Jones suffered multiple facial fractures and a broken wrist, as well as other minor injuries. He was released from the hospital and is recovering at home.
"Jones sustained very serious injuries and we are looking for the people involved in this assault to charge them with willful felony assault," Parizek said.
The NAACP reacts
The Des Moines NAACP says the incident was "nothing less than a hate crime."
"After speaking with Quan, his family, and the witnesses that have come forward — if the story is as they state it is — then what occurred yesterday should be seen as nothing less than a hate crime," local chapter president Kameron Middlebrooks told CNN.
"If it weren't for two witnesses that came to his aid, we could have been working with the family on funeral arrangements."
Parizek said investigators are still gathering evidence to determine a motive.
"Multiple detectives have been assigned to this case. And, because of the severity of the injuries and the potential of racial bias as a motive, it is considered a high priority," he said.