New Jersey State police have upgraded the charges against a New Jersey man accused of beating 23-year-old diehard Jets fan James Mohr in the MetLife Stadium parking lot after the New York Jets' 37-10 over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, according to The Associated Press.
Merle Lee, 35, of Newton, N.J., charged with simple assault before, is now free on bond after being charged with aggravated assault. State Police Sgt. Brian Polite said that the charges were upgraded after Mohr's condition worsened.
Reports said that a drunken gang of Kansas City Chiefs fans taunted Mohr as he walked through Parking Lot J at MetLife Stadium after the game was over when a woman standing with a pack of men allegedly taunted and screamed at him. According to the New York Post, one of the assailants exclaimed You all deserved what happened on 9/11, which Mohr took offense to. He then called the 9/11 insult disrespectful in part because his brother and father are both firemen.
Mohr then walked alone from where a group of neighborhood friends had gathered in another part of the lot when he was jumped by up to seven people, one of them reported to be wearing a Chiefs jersey. Polite, however, told the AP that the incident was not a Jets-Chiefs melee and that witnesses told troopers there was no indication the seven were Kansas City fans.
Mohr, a physical-education teacher at the Bronx Guild vocational high school, underwent hours of surgery Tuesday at New Jersey's Hackensack University Medical Center to repair his injuries, which included a fractured jaw, cheekbone and eye socket, and bleeding on the brain. The AP says he is now out of intensive care.
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Mohr's father, Dan, compared his son's case to that of the brutal beating of San Francisco Giants fan Brian Stowe, who suffered serious brain injuries from an attack outside Dodger Stadium on March 31.
During the preseason, a fight between a Chiefs fan and several Ravens fans in Baltimore was caught on YouTube as well as a fight in the stands between San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders fans, spurring debate about how much alcohol should be served to fans during games.
This is an unacceptable attack on one of our guests, said a MetLife Stadium rep, and we have been working with the New Jersey State Police to make sure the man arrested is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.