Businesses in the Topsail Island region of North Carolina are teaming up to support a taxi cab driver who was savagely beaten reportedly by a U.S. Marine on Sept. 9.
The cabbie, identified as Charles Hawkesworth Jr., has been recovering from the attack, reports said, as local bars, restaurants, musicians, and residents plan to come together this Sunday at the "Roving Band in the Sand Benefit for Charles."
Hawkesworth was assaulted early Sunday morning behind the wheel of his cab when his alleged attacker, Gunnery Sgt. John Adam Kinosh, 30, started punching him after hearing that Hawkesworth wanted to pick up another passenger, multiple reports said. The attack was captured on video from inside the cab.
Kinosh, who may or may not have been intoxicated, accused Hawkesworth of stealing his hat and money while he beat the cabbie. Kinosh has since checked into a psychiatric hospital and will face felony charges, WECT.com reported.
Area detectives told the news affiliate Hawkesworth's injuries were serious enough to warrant a charge of inflicting serious bodily injury and one count misdemeanor communicating threats. The taxi cab company has canceled shared rides because of the incident.
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"It just amazes me that the guy flipped the way he did. I understand he's checked himself into a mental institution to avoid prosecution. That bothers me even more," Island Taxi owner Rex Bowen told WECT.
Detectives told media outlets that they plan to execute the arrest warrant when Kinosh leaves the pyschiatric hospital.
Now, the Topsail Advertiser reports that the people in the North Carolina town will participate in a bar crawl to help pay for Hawkesworth's medical expenses. Some bars in the area will donate 100 percent of their beer sales from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sept. 16 to the effort. Live music, auctions, raffles and more events have been scheduled to encourage local citizens to come out.
As of Thursday afternoon, more than 1,200 people had joined a Facebook group, dedicated to helping Hawkesworth. Both friends and strangers wrote messages to Hawkesworth, often referencing the video from a dashboard camera that recorded the beating in its entirety. Specific information about the upcoming benefit is on the Facebook page.