GRPD: Some in video of assault ID’d

A still image from video of a group assaulting a man in downtown Grand Rapids on July 28, 2015. (Courtesy the Grand Rapids Police Department)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Video of a brutal assault in downtown Grand Rapids released to the public on Monday has garnered tips that police say led to the identification of some of the people involved.

The video released by the Grand Rapids Police Department showed a group of people stomping and punching a man near Rosa Parks Circle in the area of Monroe Avenue and Louis Street. Police say the assault happened around 10:15 p.m. on July 28.

As of Tuesday evening, the video had been viewed more than half a million times. And in fewer than 24 hours, police said, they were able to identify several people involved in the assault thanks to tips.

“It almost appears like a game,” GRPD Capt. Matt Ostapowicz told 24 Hour News 8. “The one guy for whatever reason says, ‘Somebody hit him,’ and they did and everybody went crazy.”

Ostapowicz said the victim told police he didn’t know anyone in the group and had not had prior contact with them.

The victim, a 18-year-old white man, can be seen in the video walking by a group of black males and some females when one of the males in the group yells for someone to “sock” the victim.

“It turns into that mob mentality,” Ostapowicz said. “He (the 18-year-old male) gets sucker punched, knocked down and, as you can see, several people start stomping on all different parts of his body. We’re very fortunate he didn’t get hurt worse than he was.”

Ostapowicz said the victim suffered a concussion as well as some bruising, cuts and scrapes.

Tuesday, police said they are not calling the assault a hate crime. They said they will leave that determination to the prosecutor’s office.

Justice will be served, police said. Tuesday, they said they were expecting to make arrests as early as Wednesday. But in a Wednesday release, GRPD said it had passed information regarding “several subjects” on to the prosecutor’s office, which would decide in the next couple of days whether charges would be filed.

GRPD said it was still working to identify everyone in the video. Anyone with information can call the department at 616.456.3400 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.

“Most nights in downtown is not what you see in this video,” Ostapowicz said. “This unfortunately happened. Lucky, again, it was caught on tape.”

Police said they are working to increase downtown patrols. The assault is not an example of a trend, they said, but they are trying to stop violent behavior before it continues.

**Editor’s note: Sound has been removed from the video above due to the use of a racial slur.

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