DA: Men wanted for hate crimes after sucker-punch at IB protest

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IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. — Two men are wanted for hate crime charges stemming from an attack on a Black journalist in Imperial Beach during a June protest, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office said Thursday.

The incident happened June 7 when Black Lives Matter demonstrators were marching peacefully through the area, the D.A.’s office said in a news release announcing the charges.

Video showing the attack was shared widely in the days that followed, and prompted Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina to call for an investigation.

Two men, whom prosecutors identified as 38-year-old Jeffrey Brooks and 32-year-old Henry Brooks Jr., “began verbally and physically antagonizing the protesters” as they marched, throwing eggs and shouting at them, according to the charges.

Brooks is accused of sucker-punching Marcus Boyd, who was standing with his back to him, a short time later. The punch caused the Boyd, whom the D.A. identified as a journalist covering the protest, “to fall backwards and hit his head on the ground,” the charges state.

“I was actually shocked that it had happened. I really thought that they were more bullies verbally. I really didn’t think that they would get physical,” Boyd said.

Video shows protesters running to help the victim as the man who threw the punch jogs away.

Now both Brooks and Brooks Jr. have warrants out for their arrest. When taken into custody, they will face felony assault and battery charges, and hate crime allegations, the D.A. said.

If convicted, Brooks could spend three years in custody and Brooks Jr. could spend six years behind bars.

“I hope that they give themselves up and nothing happens to them,” Boyd said.

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