Tensions erupted in Mobile, Alabama when an angry mob reportedly composed of African Americans brutally assaulted Matthew Owens in public on a Saturday following a confrontation between Owens and a group of black kids playing basketball in in the street. According to Owen's neighbors, he may have cursed at the kids and threatened them with knives leading up to the assault. The case has already drawn national attention online, largely because several witnesses claim that a member of the mob stated that the beating was Justice for Trayvon [Martin] as they walked away.
One witness said he saw Matthew Owens yell racial slurs at the group of children and even putt out two knives, according to WPMI.
It was like kitchen knives, witness David Dinkins told the station. They were long.
At the time of the assault Owens was staying with a neighbor, who described what he saw happen from inside the house.
He ran in here and got 2 butcher knives. I said, 'What are you doing with these?' the neighbor told AOL . He was in a rage.
The neighbor, who wished to remain anonymous, added that he does not know what Owens did with the knives. He also noted that he has had friendly relations with his black neighbors and that there had never been a problem until Saturday night. However, he admitted that several of the kids in question have caused problems in the past, refusing to move their portable basketball hoop to make way for cars.
Danny Parker, brother-in-law of Matthew Owens, confirmed that the kids were often a disruption, not only getting in the way of traffic, but sometimes yelling vulgarities at local residents, according to AOL. Parker described the crowd that assaulted Matthew Owens as consisting of adults, male and female, teenagers, and women in dresses - they looked like they were going to church.
Owens was reportedly attacked after telling a group of black children to stop playing basketball in front of his home. Parker confirmed that several neighbors say they have had problems in the past with children playing basketball in the street, refusing to move out of the way for cars and sometimes yelling vulgarities at local residents.
Another neighbor anonymously told AOL that Matthews has significant anger management issues.
Matthew has a lot of problems, the said. I've been waiting for this to happen because that's what he does. He's pushed a number of people.
Marsha Skipper, who also lives nearby, told AOL that Matthew Owens has a history of ugly confrontations with others, both black and white
News 5, a local TV Station, did some research into Matthew Owens past and what they uncovered was a history of violence and multiple arrests. Records from the Mobile County Metro Jail show that Owens had been arrested multiple times in the past, including multiple violent confrontations including charges of domestic violence, assault and sex abuse over the past 12 years.His first arrest took place in November of 1990, and the most recent time he was brought to jail was last march on a domestic charge.
A witness describing the assault to AOL said the assailants used a paint can, bamboo torches and other objects, and estimated the crowd to be around 30 people.
They proceeded to just beat the cr-p out of him, he said. It was just so intense. I couldn't believe they were acting like this.
Matthew Owens is still in the hospital with severe head injuries. He reportedly pleaded with his attackers as they rained down on him.
A witness who asked to remain anonymous for his own safety described the violent episode to local15tv.com:
I heard Matthew saying, 'I'm sorry, man, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. And then, the next thing, before I could get to the door, because we have it all dead-bolted and everything, and before I could get it open, I heard all the beating and banging. He was laying on the ground full of blood. I mean, it was horrible. His head, everything. Blood was pouring from his head, both sides. And his whole body was drenched in blood.