"Blue Lives Matter." A teen's decision to use those three little words had near fatal consequences.
Police in Sylacauga, Alabama, announced the arrest of four men Oct. 11 in the beating of a teenager which may have been racially motivated.
Brian Ogle was attacked in a parking lot Sept. 30 by four former Sylacauga High School students, WBRC reported.
The suspects were named as Quartez Walker, Bobby Brown, La Noah Ealy Jr and Daveon Nix.
“We’ve gotten everybody we have information on that were involved in the assault, who actually ‘assaulted’ that witnesses actually know or we determined they were there,” Police Chief Kelley Johnson said, according to WBRC.
Johnson said some of those arrested traveled to Sylacauga to attack Ogle.
“It seemed to be a planned incident. They planned it, this kid was singled out for some reason,” he said.
Brandi Allen, Ogle’s mother, believes the reason was her son’s online support for “Blue lives matter,” which she said was a response to students wearing “Black Lives Matter” t-shirts at school, KLEW reported.
Allen urged hate crime charges to be included against the suspects.
“Brian was assaulted because he made people mad about what he posted on Facebook. Those people came looking for him,” Johnson added, according to WBRC. “Some took it personally and came here on that Friday to get even with Brian.”
But Johnson explained that the incident did not meet the definition of a hate crime.
“I feel that our District Attorney should have made the bond higher. I mean, obviously, people get charged with lesser crimes every day and their bonds are way higher than this. I know our [police] chief Kelley Johnson [did] all he could possibly do,” Allen told WBRC.
Walker was charged with first degree assault because it is alleged he had a weapon during the attack. The others face second degree assault charges.
A student who witnessed Ogle’s beating was subsequently attacked on Oct. 3. Legal action is being pursued in that incident.
“Hopefully, this will put closure to it,” Sylacauga Mayor Doug Murphree told WBRC. “In ways, this has brought some in the community together. I think it’s made the kids especially stop and think.”
Ogle remains in the hospital with a fractured skull and brain trauma. His condition is described as fair.
The four suspects are due to have their first court appearance in November.