Alton Hayes III, an 18-year-old Chicago teen suspected of a violent beating of a white teen last Tuesday, told police that his repressed anger was stemmed from the Trayvon Martin case in Florida.
Hayes was charged with a hate crime when he and a 15-year-old attacked and violently beat a 19-year-old white man on April 17 in Oak Park, a suburb near Chicago.
Police said Hayes and his partner, whose name has not been released due to his juvenile status, attacked the teen at random because he was white. Hayes reportedly pinned his arms and threated to beat him with a tree branch while saying, Empty your pockets, white boy. Hayes and his accomplice threw the victim to the ground and beat him with multiple blows to the head and back.
After being taken into custody, Hayes told police that he randomly attacked the victim based on repressed anger from the death of Trayvon Martin and the way the case was handled in Florida, according to State's attorney spokesman Andy Conklin.
Hayes was charged with three felonies on Wednesday: attempted robbery, aggravated battery and hate crime. He is being held in Cook County jail on $80,000 bail.
Continue Reading Below
The case which angered Hayes was the Florida 17-year-old lack teen named Trayvon Martin, who was unarmed and fatally shot in a gated community in Florida on Feb. 26 by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. The case garnered national attention, especially in past six weeks since the death of Martin when initially Zimmerman was let off the hook due to Flordia's Stand Your Ground law and his claim of self-defense. Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder on April 11 and goes to trial on Monday.
Alton Hayes III is not the first person to commit a violent act stemmed from the Trayvon Martin case. According to WKRG-TV in Alabama, a white male named Matthew Owens was beaten by a group of African-Americans in Mobile with chairs, pipes, brass knuckles and paint cans claiming it was justice for Trayvon.