A brawl between a group of White and Black men over a Confederate flag decal could be investigated as a hate crime, Fox2Now reports.
The incident happened outside of a hotel near Salt Lake City, UT on Nov. 1, where two Wyoming natives were attending a Garth Brooks concert. Kelly Leeper said the truck he and his friend were driving had a magnet of the Confederate flag on it.
Leeper said he looked out his hotel window and noticed a group of African-American men eyeing the vehicle. He and his friend then went to confront them. The conversation, which you can watch in the short video above, is laced with profanities and name-calling from both sides. At one point, one of the White men calls one of the Black men a gay slur. A Black man who has not been identified punches Leeper’s friend in the face, knocking him out. The rest of the men then begin to fight.
Police are still on the hunt for the men involved in the brawl.
While police are investigating the incident, they have yet to label it a hate crime. Leeper said if the tables were turned, the fight would have been immediately labeled as such.
“If the situation was reversed, and if there was a large group of white males who confronted two black gentlemen who, hypothetically, had a sticker on their vehicle that said, ‘Black lives matter,’ it would be dubbed a hate crime in a heartbeat,” Leeper said in the Deseret News. “So where’s the double standard there?”
Leeper believes the Confederate flag represents independence and fighting for your rights, not racism. “I’ll be damned if I ever come to Salt Lake again without bringing my gun,” he added.
“Everybody’s interpretation of what that flag means is different,” Leeper said. “And obviously there’s a gap there on what the black community believes the flag stands for and what I or anybody else believes what the flag stands for. I guess that’s the beauty of the First Amendment is that it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks, you have the right to do, or believe or speak or say or display any type of thing you want,” he said. “There was four of us total, and one of them was African-American. I don’t want to be labeled as a racist.”
Leeper and his friend sustained cuts and bruises as a result of the fight.
Could the brawl be labeled a hate crime? Weigh the facts and sound off in the comments below…